1.3 What Are Infectious Organisms?

Infectious organisms are microorganisms that can cause disease. Infection is a term often used to refer to infectious disease, but it technically is the process through which a disease occurs in the host due to an infectious organism.

Infectious organisms have mainly four types: bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Bacteria belong to the prokaryote kingdom, yeasts and molds belong to the fungi kingdom, and parasites are members of the Protista kingdom. All these have different characteristics of their own and the type of diseases they produce. Within each category, there are further variations of how different infectious agents behave and cause diseases.

Researchers categorize these different infectious organisms based on their size, biochemical characteristics, method of interaction with human hosts, and the treatment options available for the diseases they cause. Another essential feature of distinction between these infectious agents is how they reproduce.

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