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The Immune Response to Infection: Introduction

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Abstract:

Microbes were the first living organisms to colonize the world some 3 billion years ago. When our human ancestors entered the scene some millions of years ago, microbes had already occupied every niche on the globe. The human body was no exception to this occupation. Microbes colonized and readily exploited the outer and inner surfaces of our ancestors’ bodies; every now and then they entered into deeper tissue sites where they caused harm—something we now call infectious disease. As long as humans were nomadic and did not settle in larger communities, infectious diseases were restricted to small groups of individuals and could not spread. Once humans switched to stable settlements and started to grow crops and tend animals, microbes could better spread from contaminated water, soil, and vegetable sources to animal and human, from animal to human, and from human to human. Farming and animal husbandry practices began 10,000 to 20,000 years ago and provided fertile ground for insects, which served as vectors for disease transmission. In fact, we can trace several major infectious diseases of today back to these times.

Citation: H. E. Kaufmann S, Rouse B, Sacks D. 2011. The Immune Response to Infection: Introduction, p 1-4. In Kaufmann S, Rouse B, Sacks D (ed), The Immune Response to Infection. ASM Press, Washington, DC.

Key Concept Ranking

Infection and Immunity
0.58542275
Immune Systems
0.5818986
Infectious Diseases
0.5441034
Innate Immune System
0.49540052
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
0.4250754
0.58542275
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Figures

Image of FIGURE 1
FIGURE 1

Timeline of infectious disease research. The timeline illustrates major breakthroughs in the area of infection and immunity.

Citation: H. E. Kaufmann S, Rouse B, Sacks D. 2011. The Immune Response to Infection: Introduction, p 1-4. In Kaufmann S, Rouse B, Sacks D (ed), The Immune Response to Infection. ASM Press, Washington, DC.
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Image of FIGURE 2
FIGURE 2

The merger of innate and acquired immunity. The figure depicts the major events that led to the merger of innate and acquired immunity to a global view of the immune response.

Citation: H. E. Kaufmann S, Rouse B, Sacks D. 2011. The Immune Response to Infection: Introduction, p 1-4. In Kaufmann S, Rouse B, Sacks D (ed), The Immune Response to Infection. ASM Press, Washington, DC.
Permissions and Reprints Request Permissions
Download as Powerpoint

References

/content/book/10.1128/9781555816872.ch00
1. Brock, T. D. 1999. Milestones in microbiology: 1546 to 1940. ASM Press, Washington, DC.
2. Kaufmann, S. H. 2008. Immunology’s foundation: the 100-year anniversary of the Nobel Prize to Paul Ehrlich and Elie Metchnikoff. Nat. Immunol. 9:705712.
3. Kaufmann, S. H. E. 2009. The new plagues: pandemics and poverty in a globalized world. Haus Publishing, London.
4. Kaufmann, S. H. E., and, F. Winau. 2005. From bacteriology to immunology: the dualism of specificity. Nat. Immunol. 6:10631066.

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