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What are examples of pathogens?

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Quick Answer

Examples of pathogens include Ebola, rabies, norvirus, rhinovirus and staphylococcus. Pathogens can be broadly divided into three groups: bacteria, viruses and fungi. They are also usually classified by their means of transmission. Examples include food-borne pathogens, such as E. coli, and airborne pathogens, such as influenza.

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Bacterial pathogens are microscopic living organisms that cause negative health effects or disease when they enter a host. Most bacteria are harmless or even beneficial to humans, but some common bacteria that are dangerous are myobacterium tuberculosis, staphylococcus and streptococuss, which causes a wide range of diseases, including strep throat, pink eye and pneumonia.

Viral pathogens differ in that they replicate only in the cells of living organisms, including bacteria, and are more frequently damaging to their host. They also cannot be treated with antibiotics. Some examples include cowpox, ebola, hepatitis, human immunodeficiency virus, influenza and rabies.

Pathogens commonly transmitted by food or water include campylobacter, whic is a common cause of diarreah; clostridium botulinum, or botulism; listeria monocytogenes, or listeriosis; norovirus; salmonella; and shigella.

Airborne pathogens are distinctive in that they usually irritate the nose and throat and can be passed to others by way of mucus and saliva. A pathogen "going airborne" is usually considered a dangerous mutation. Aside from influenza, common airborne pathogens include rhinovirus and coronavirus, which cause colds.

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