Vocabulary for Contagious Disease Unit

Vocabulary for Contagious Disease Unit


Agents of Disease include: viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoans, and some invertebrates such as parasitic worms.

Disease – A disease is any change, other than injury, that disrupts the normal functions of the body.

Virus – A small infectious agent that replicates only inside the living cells of other organisms (plants or animals)

Bacteria –are microscopic living organisms, usually one-celled that are found everywhere.  They can be dangerous, such as when they cause infection.

Strep Infection – Spherical bacteria that causes disease in humans and animals.

Staph Infection – An infection caused by staphylococcus bacteria usually found on the skin or in the nose of even healthy individual.  Most of the time the bacteria cause no problems or result in relatively mild infections.

Fungi –any of the saprophytic or parasitic spore producers that can be true pathogens that cause infections in healthy persons.

Allergies – An overreaction of the immune system to antigens such as pollen, dust, mold or bee stings.

Autoimmune Disease – The immune system makes a mistake and attacks the body’s own cells.

Immunodeficiency Disease – The immune system fails to develop or is destroyed.

Histamine – Histamines increase the flow of blood and fluids to the area.  They increase mucus production in the respiratory system which brings on sneezing, watery eyes, and and runny nose.

Antihistamines are drugs that are used to counteract the effects of histamines.

Pathogens are disease-causing agents.

Infectious disease is a disease that is caused by a pathogen that can be transmitted from one person to another.

First Line of Defense – Skin, mucous membranes, tears in the eyes, wax in the ears, secretions of the sweat glands, acid in the stomach are examples of the first lines of defense used to keep the pathogens from entering the body.

Lysozyme is an enzyme that breaks down the cell walls of many bacteria.  It is found in the body secretions including mucus, saliva and tears.

Mucus is a slimy surface that pathogen may get stuck on.

Cilia are tiny hair like structures that push pathogens and debris away from the lungs.

Vectors are animals that carry pathogens from person to person.  Examples include ticks, fleas, mosquitoes.  People may even transmit pathogens to other people.

Antibiotics are compounds that kill bacteria without harming human cells.

Louis Pasteur – Scientist/Doctor who helped to develop “The Germ Theory of Disease” (Infectious diseases are caused by microorganisms of different types, commonly known as germs.)

Robert Koch - – Scientist/Doctor who helped to develop “The Germ Theory of Disease” (Infectious diseases are caused by microorganisms of different types, commonly known as germs.)

Koch’s Postulates:

  1.  The suspected pathogen must occur in the body of an animal with the disease and not occur in the body of a healthy animal.
  2. The suspected pathogen should be isolated and grown in a laboratory culture.
  3. If a healthy animal is inoculated with this culture, the animal should develop the disease.
  4. The pathogen from the second animal should be isolated and grown in the laboratory.  It should be the same as the pathogen isolated from the first animal.




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