By John Playfair
The observe germ is outlined as 'a microbe that motives disease'. nearly all of microbes don't infect us in any respect: it's pathogens that make us ailing. those comprise micro organism, viruses, protozoa, fungi, worms, and prions. residing with Germs not just appears in any respect of those intimately, but in addition on the safety mechanisms wherein we come to phrases with pathogens, no matter if by means of removing them, preventing them from disposing of us, or just studying to stay with them. this is often the 1st ebook to examine the topic of immunology in a suitable and approachable kind. utilizing anecdotal and autobiographical fabric, John Playfair has produced a full of life, well-written, and up to date examine immunology. well timed and topical, this can entice all those that need to know the proof in the back of the 'germ' scare tales.
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Additional resources for Living with Germs: In Sickness and in Health 2007 Paperback Edition
3 The eukaryotic cell. (a) Basic structure and contents. (b) Two important pathways of information transfer, illustrated in a virus-infected cell. For deﬁnition of terms, see text. Note, the molecules shown are not to scale; they would be invisibly small at this magniﬁcation. g. mammalian) cell; like all the ﬁgures in this book it is highly simpliﬁed and diagrammatic, and the various structures and molecules are not to scale. To return to bacteria, you can see why even they cannot be considered ‘primitive’.
A medical emergency Meningitis can also be pneumococcal, tuberculous, viral, fungal, or even protozoal, but the commonest cause is Neisseria meningitis (the ‘meningococcus’). g. penicillin) is the only hope. To distinguish the rash of meningococcal meningitis from all the other rashes that children are prone to is one of the doctor’s most essential skills. I will return to the subject of skin rashes in Chapter 7. Molecules of sudden death The toxins of staphs and streps have been mentioned; they are numerous and varied, destroying host cells and helping the bacteria to spread and avoid defence mechanisms.
Yet another toxin, secreted by the diphtheria bacillus, blocks a single step in the synthesis of protein, destroying cells particularly in the nose and throat, with death from suffocation or, occasionally, heart failure. Diphtheria and tetanus toxins were turned to good account when it was discovered that they could be inactivated by formalin but still retain the ability to induce immunity – the brilliantly successful toxoid vaccines introduced in the 1940s and still in universal use today. Before that, a doctor in a remote area had to be prepared for drastic action in a case of diphtheria: to clear the airways by opening the windpipe, if necessary with a hastily sterilized penknife – the operation of tracheotomy.