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Section 2: Biological Hazards

The Environments Role in Disease
Waterborne Disease
Antibiotic Resistance
Emerging Viruses
Cross-Species Transfer
Explain why the environment is an important factor in
the spread of cholera.
List two changes to the environment that can lead to the
spread of infectious diseases.
Explain what scientists mean when they say that certain
viruses are emerging.
The Environments Role in Disease
Not all all damage to human health
by the environment is due to toxic
chemicals but by organisms that
carry disease.
Infectious diseases caused by
o Pathogen - a virus or
microorganism that causes
o Can be spread airborne from
person to person or waterborne
The Worlds Most Infectious Diseases
Secondary Host
Other diseases are transmitted by a
secondary host
o Secondary host - organism that
harbors a parasite
o Vector - intermediate host that
transfers pathogen or parasite to
o Ex: Secondary host = human,
parasite = malaria, vector =

Malaria on the March
No vaccine for malaria but can be cured if treated promptly
and correctly
More common in tropical areas (near the equator)
mosquitoes like that environment
Waterborne Diseases
Illnesses caused by drinking water contaminated by
human or animal feces
o Ex: Cholera, hepatitis A, salmonella, typhoid fever, e.
About three-fourths of infectious disease are transmitted
through water
Intestinal infection caused by drinking contaminated
water that contains the bacterium Vibrio cholerae
Causes diarrhea and vomiting quickly leads to severe
dehydration and death without proper treatment
Causes most of the infant mortality around the world

Antibiotic Resistance
Antibiotic resistance - resistance of a microorganism to
an antimicrobial drug that was originally effective for
treatments of infections caused by it
Threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an
ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria,
parasites, viruses, and fungi

Emerging Viruses
Emerging viruses - newly discovered
viruses, one that is increasing in
incidence or with the potential to
increase incidence
o Ex: hantavirus, ebola virus, the
West Nile virus, and the HIV (which
causes AIDS)
Most viral diseases spread directly
from one person to another
Often, the virus invades the body
through a cut or through mucous
Emerging Viruses
We do not have many effective drugs to treat viral
Our main defense against viral diseases is vaccination.
However, vaccines are virus specific and viruses evolve
New vaccines must be developed when a new strain of a
viral pathogen evolves.
Cross-Species Transfer
Lately, there has been an
increasing number of pathogens
that have made a cross-species
transfer, or have moved from
one species to another.
These pathogens have lived for
centuries in some species of wild
animals and have often done little
Ex: HIV, West Nile virus