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Chapter 20 : Infection and Immunity

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Infection and Immunity, Page 1 of 2

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Abstract:

Pathogenic microbes gain entrance to the body in characteristic ways, depending on the microbe. The portal of entry for the bacteria that cause typhoid and paratyphoid fevers, dysentery, and cholera is the digestive tract. An important aspect of defense against microbial infection is the activity of special phagocytic cells that are very mobile and can engulf and destroy microbes. Individuals with phagocytes that do not function properly may have recurrent infections caused by microbes that are normally not pathogenic, and some forms of "phagocyte cell disease" are often fatal in childhood. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) attacks the host’s immune system, causing its eventual failure. This failure leaves affected individuals vulnerable to many infections and cancers, leading inexorably to severe morbidity and high mortality. Substantial evidence suggests that HIV emerged in the middle of the twentieth century, following the infection of humans with simian immunodeficiency viruses. Disparities in risk of infection and in access to treatment expose critical inequities in the distribution of social and medical resources within developed and developing countries. Theodore Rosebury made extensive studies on the aspect of microbiology and summarizes the overall microbial ecology of humans. Germ-free experimental animals become very ill, and may even die, if their diets are not supplemented with certain vitamins that do not have to be added to the diets of normal animals. This indicates that in normal animals, the microbial population in the intestine must furnish vitamins to the host.

Citation: Gest H. 2003. Infection and Immunity, p 128-139. In Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817855.ch20
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Figures

Image of Figure 30
Figure 30

A schematic representation of one kind of antigen-antibody combination. The large rod-shaped bodies are pathogenic bacteria, and the dark triangles on their surfaces represent antigens. The Y-shaped objects are antibody proteins that were produced by the animal host after exposure to the bacterial antigens. Antibodies in the blood adhere to the bacterial antigens in a very specific fashion, analogous to the way a key fits into its complementary lock, and thus inactivate the bacteria. Note that bacteria are actually much larger than antibodies (see Fig. 33 for a more accurate illustration of their relative proportions).

Citation: Gest H. 2003. Infection and Immunity, p 128-139. In Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817855.ch20
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Image of Figure 31
Figure 31

From common experience it is evident that a delicate balance exists between disease and health. The successful infection of a human by a pathogenic agent depends on a number of factors. Important factors for the pathogen include the number transmitted and the inherent virulence of the particular strain of the microorganism. The general health and immune status of the human host contribute to protection from disease. As the diagram suggests, this delicate balance can be tipped toward either disease or health by a change in any of these factors. (Adapted from Pelczar and Reid [1958], with permission.)

Citation: Gest H. 2003. Infection and Immunity, p 128-139. In Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817855.ch20
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Image of Figure 32
Figure 32

Küster's germfree apparatus. The box in which the goat was kept is on the left. The air purification system is shown on the right. A cross-section of the box is shown at bottom left. From Küster (1915).

Citation: Gest H. 2003. Infection and Immunity, p 128-139. In Microbes. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817855.ch20
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References

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