Pathogens, disease and defence mechanisms

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  • Pathogens, disease and defence mechanisms.
    • Pathogens cause infectious diseases.
    • Pathogens are tiny microorganism, usually bacteria or viruses.
    • When bacteria or viruses enter the body, they reproduce rapidly.
      • They can make you feel ill by producing toxins.
        • Viruses are much smaller than bacteria and reproduce inside cells. The damage to cells can also make you ill.
    • Before the discovery of bacteria and viruses, a doctor called Semmelweiss realised that infection could be passed from person to person in a hospital.
      • Semmelweiss told doctors to wash their hands between treating patients, however many doctors did not take him seriously.
    • The skin prevents pathogens from getting into the body.
      • Pathogens can be trapped in mucus and killed in stomach acid.
    • The white blood cells do 3 things to defend the body.
      • They can ingest pathogens which means that they can digest and destroy them.
      • The produce antibodies to help destroy certain pathogens.
      • They produce antitoxins which help to counteract the toxins that pathogens produce


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