Session: 11 Bacteriology
Bacteria are single-celled microorganisms that lack a nuclear membrane, are metabolically active and divide by binary fission. Medically they are a major cause of disease. Superficially, bacteria appear to be relatively simple forms of life; in fact, they are sophisticated and highly adaptable. Many bacteria multiply at rapid rates, and different species can utilize an enormous variety of hydrocarbon substrates, including phenol, rubber, and petroleum. These organisms exist widely in both parasitic and free - living forms. Because they are ubiquitous and have a remarkable capacity to adapt to changing environments by selection of spontaneous mutants, the importance of bacteria in every field of medicine cannot be overstated.
Major advances in bacteriology over the last century resulted in the development of many effective vaccines (e.g., pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, diphtheria toxoid, and tetanus toxoid) as well as of other vaccines (e.g., cholera, typhoid, and plague vaccines) that are less effective or have side effects. Another major advance was the discovery of antibiotics. These antimicrobial substances have not eradicated bacterial diseases, but they are powerful therapeutic tools.
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