Mechanisms of Disease 1 HC21: Essential microorganisms

HC21: Essential microorganisms

Clinical symptoms

One microorganism can cause 1, 2, 3 or many more clinical symptoms.

Vibrio cholera

The bacteria vibrio cholerae is a curved gram-negative bacteria that causes cholera. Cholera is an epidemic in many countries, mainly where hygiene is a problem. The bacterium has several characteristics:

  • Is a vibrio → is curved
  • Has a flagellum → makes rapid movements possible

The bacterium is spread by drinking contaminated water or direct contact between people. Not everyone who is a carrier becomes sick, but people with acid-inhibitors, elderly and children are more susceptible.

It is a non-invasive micro-organism → it doesn't cause inflammation or fever. There is no host response involved, but it does produce a cholera toxin. It is a toxin-mediated disease, which causes hyperactivity of the cell → pumps which pump water and elektrolytes out of the cell are activated:

  1. The cholera toxin can bind to the membrane of the villi via a G-protein
  2. cAMP is activated irreversibly in the cell
  3. cAMP leads to an active secretion of kalium, natrium, chloride, bicarbonate and water → results in a watery diarrhea
    • This is called rice water stool

The pumps can pump up to 15 L a day. This can cause dehydration and a low blood pressure, especially among children.

Taenia saginata

The taenia species is a species of tapeworms in the bowel. Humans are the definitive host. The worms make eggs, which can be eaten by cows, causing the taenia to reproduce. Cows are the intermediary host → when a person eats raw cow meat, they can become infected.  Another taenia species is taenia solium.

Legionella pneumophila

The legionella bacterium is a gram-negative bacterium that is very small. Legionella pneumophila can lead to 2 diseases:

  • Pneumonia
    • If someone is T-cell immunocompromised
  • Pontiac fever

Legionella survives in the cell → it needs help from T-cells to be destroyed

The legionella bacteria thrive in warm water → they mainly reside in man-made water systems like air conditioning, saunas, showers and hot tubs. Transmission goes via air particles → aeriosoles. One person cannot infect another with it.

Treponema pallidum

The bacteria treponema pallidum can cause Syphilis. The bacteria is gram-negative and is mainly spread via genital or oral mucosal contact. The disease comes in phases:

  1. Ulcer on the genital organs (or somewhere else)
  2. The ulcer disappears for
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