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47 terms

Microbiology Terms

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Aerobe
an organism that requires oxygen for life and reproduction
Anaerobe
an organism that does not require oxygen for life and reproduction
Antibacterial (antibiotics)
medications used to stop or slow the growth of bacteria in the body, allowing the body's immune system to get back in control
Bactericidal antibiotic
kill bacteria
Bacteriostatic antibiotic
stop the growth of bacteria
Antifungal
medications used to stop or slow the growth of fungus
Antihelmintics
medications used to stop or slow the growth of worms
Antiviral
medications used to stop or slow the growth of viruses
Autoimmune diseases
disorders characterized by inflammation and destruction of the body's tissues caused by the body's own immune system
Bacteria
single-celled microorganisms that do not have a defined nucleus and are found virtually everywhere
Pathogenic bacteria
bacteria that cause disease
Nonpathogenic bacteria
bacteria that do not cause disease
CD4+ count
the count of a certain type of white blood cells; used to assess the magnitude of injury to immune system (for instance, to determine when to initiate therapy and monitor the effectiveness of HIV and AIDS treatment)
Colonization
presence of bacteria in a human host that is not part of the normal flora; often resides in the host without causing disease unless overgrowth occurs
Dermatophytes
fungi that cause infection of hair, skin, and nails
Disease
a condition of the body in which there is abnormal functioning resulting from the effects of hereditary, infection, diet, or environment
Dysentery
infection of the intestinal tract causing severe diarrhea with blood and mucus
Endemic
a disease constantly present in a population
Epidemic
a greater than normal number of cases of a disease in an area within a particular period (occurring in outbreaks)
Etiology
the study of the causes and origins of disease
Fomite
an inanimate object on which pathogens may be transmitted
Fungi
plant-like microorganisms that lack chlorophyll and need to live off of a food source that is either dead or alive
Immune-competent
having an immune system that possesses the ability to mount a normal immune response
Immune-compromised
having an immune system that is weakened by disease, such as HIV, or as a result of a treatment, such as with chemotherapy medications given to treat patients with cancer. The risk of susceptibility to infections is increased.
Immune-deficient
a condition resulting from a defective immune mechanism; may be primary, due to a defect in the immune mechanism itself, or secondary, dependent upon another disease process
Immunosuppression
suppression of the immune response, as by drugs or radiation, in order to prevent rejection of a graft or transplant or to control autoimmune disease. It is also known as immunodepression.
Infection
contamination of any body tissue and organ by an invading organism or foreign substance, such as a microorganism
Microbiology
the study of very small or microscopic organisms of either animal (bacterial, protozoa) or plant (fungus, molds) origin.
Bacteriology
the study of bacteria
Mycology
the study of fungi, to include molds, mushrooms, and yeasts
Parasitology
the study of parasites
Protozoology
the study of protozoa
Virology
the study of viruses
Micrometer (mcm)
a unit of length, equal to one-millionth of a meter; previously known as a micron (10^-6 meter)
Morphology
the study of the form and structure of an organism
Mycosis
a general term pertaining to any fungal infection. It may be superficial or systemic.
Neutropenia
an abnormally low white blood cell count, sometimes as a result of chemotherapy or illness, which hampers the body in fighting infections
Nonpathogenic
bacteria that do not cause disease
Normal flora
microorganisms that constantly and consistently inhabit the human body. Some of these organisms are known to perform tasks that are useful for the human host, while the majority have no known beneficial or harmful effect.
Pandemic
a worldwide epidemic of a particular disease; examples include HIV and influenza
Parasite
organism that lives within or upon another form of life and depends on that form of life for nourishment and in some cases survival
Pathogen
organism or bacteria capable of causing disease
Spore
a reproductive element of a plant or microorganism, usually in a resting state and encased in a hard, resistant protein coat
Systemic
affecting the body as a whole. Systemic infections are generally life-threatening.
Toxin
a poisonous substance
Vector
an insect or other organism that transmits parasitic micro-organisms from person-to-person
Virus
a small microorganism, which needs a living cell to grow or reproduce