pathogenic microorganism

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.
Related to pathogenic microorganism: Pathogenic bacteria

pathogenic microorganism

Any microorganism capable of injuring its host, e.g., by competing with it for metabolic resources, destroying its cells or tissues, or secreting toxins. The injurious microorganisms include viruses, bacteria, mycobacteria, fungi, protozoa, and some helminths. Pathogenic microorganisms may be carried from one host to another as follows: Animal sources: Some organisms are pathogenic for animals as well as humans and may be communicated to humans through direct or indirect contact. Airborne: Pathogenic microorganisms such as rhinoviruses, mycobacteria, or varicella may be discharged into the air, from which infectious droplets may be inhaled by exposed persons. Bloodborne: Infections such as cytomegalovirus, hepatitis B or C, HIV/AIDS, malaria, or West Nile virus may be spread from person-to-person by injection drug use, organ transplantation, or transfusion. Contact infections: Direct transmission of microorganisms can occur by skin-to-skin or intimate body contact, as in many sexually transmitted diseases. Foodborne: Food and water may contain pathogenic organisms acquired from the handling of the food by infected persons or through fecal or insect contamination. Fomites: Inanimate objects such as linens, books, cooking utensils, or clothing that can harbor microorganisms and could serve to transport them from one location to another. Human carriers: Asymptomatic individuals (e.g., “typhoid Mary”) may harbor microorganisms without injury but transmit disease to others. Arthropod vectors: Insects, ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, and mites may transmit diseases by biting their hosts and depositing microorganisms into the blood. Soilborne: Spore-forming organisms (e.g., tetanus) in the soil may enter the body through a cut or wound. Vegetables and fruits, esp. root crops, may transmit microorganisms to the gastrointestinal tract.

Patient care

In health care settings such as clinics, hospitals, nursing homes and care facilities, hand hygiene before and after patient contact can do more than any other intervention to limit the spread of pathogenic microorganisms to patients. Hand hygiene is also the most effective preventive measure in the home and should be taught when handling food, after using the toilet, after handling nasal secretions or sputum, and before or after providing care to children, sick relatives, or other close contacts who have transmissible illnesses or risk factors (such as immune-suppressing illnesses) that predispose them to infection. Vaccination is another potent tool against the spread of pathogenic microorganisms, as is quarantine or “social distancing.”

See also: microorganism
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners
References in periodicals archive ?
Activity of Lawsonia inermis leaf extracts and controls against pathogenic microorganisms No Organism Diameter of zone of inhibition (mm) (Including 6mm of disc size) Hexane Ethanol Methanol 1 S.
subtilis BAS114 Plant pathogenic microorganisms PIRG (%) Inhibition zone (mm) H.
Because milk processing in Kinigi farms takes place under unsanitary conditions and poor production practices, the products could contain pathogenic microorganisms. In addition, milk collected from different farms could be contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms present inside the udder, the exterior surfaces of the animal, milk handling equipment and air within the milking environment.
Most of the healthcare workers hand flora gradually gets replaced by pathogenic microorganisms, which can spread throughout a health care environment in a short span of time," the study said.
During pregnancy, alterations in estrogen and progesterone levels induce physiological changes, such as PH values, in the lower genital tract of pregnant women.1-3 Such physiological changes will result in vaginal mucosa congestion and hypertrophy, which benefit growth of anaerobic bacteria and other pathogenic microorganisms within the vagina.4-7 In addition, cervical gland hypertrophy, proliferation of cervical cells, decreases in B lymphocyte numbers change the local immune environments of cervix and vagina.8
The prosthesis delivered to dental clinics from dental laboratories may be contaminated with several pathogenic microorganisms for example, streptococci, lactobacilli, diphtheroids.
They were also lacking in ensuring staff toilets were clean and that food was kept at a temperature which prevented the growth of pathogenic microorganisms or the formulation of toxins.
As untreated cow's milk may itself contain pathogenic microorganisms and could pose a health risk, the researchers argued for the use of processing methods that preserve the protective agents present in raw milk.
The proposal, backed by industry groups including the National Chicken Council, is intended to move the focus of federal resources away from production lines in favor of more emphasis on off-line sampling for pathogenic microorganisms in poultry bound for commerce.
(5) Pathogenic microorganisms that may survive on the currency notes may serve as potential sources of enteropathogens that cause infections and potential sporadic cases of food borne diseases.
This included pleading guilty to placing on the market food that was unsafe for human consumption by reason of contamination with pathogenic microorganisms.
Patients with bronchiectasis also presented with "a more severe form of COPD in clinical and functional terms, as well as a greater concentration of parameters of systemic inflammation and a greater presence of" potentially pathogenic microorganisms (PPMs) in their airways, the investigators said.