Partners : PBIDI

What Are Infectious Diseases?

Infectious diseases are a major cause of illness and death. They are caused by organisms ranging from minute viruses to parasites more than three feet in size. Those organisms that cause disease in humans are mostly transmitted through the food and water we ingest, the air we breathe, or by contact with contaminated environments.

Many common infections are caused by bacteria that are part of our normal environment (our “normal flora”) and by bacteria that are passed among otherwise healthy individuals. Occasionally, a microbe that is considered to be part of “normal flora” undergoes a chance mutation and develops special properties: such as virulence (the power to cause disease), or resistance (the loss of susceptibility to antibiotics previously effective against the microbe).

Many of us face the risk of acquiring some form of infectious disease in our ever-changing environment, especially the very young and the elderly; although, healthy adults can also fall prey to serious infections. Up to 2.2 million people are thought to carry MRSA, a serious and sometimes deadly type of “Staph” infection which is resistant to our first line antibiotics.

It is imperative that we increase awareness of these real and potential threats to our lives. PBIDI research scientists are working to identify these mutating bacteria and to find cures to treat these life-threatening, “equal opportunity” infections. PBIDI is dedicated to this mission and our work is of major importance to the well-being of our community.