Infection

An infection is the colonization of a host organism by parasite species. Infecting parasites seek to use the host's resources to reproduce, often resulting in disease. Colloquially, infections are usually considered to be caused by microscopic organisms or micro parasites like viruses, prions, bacteria, and viroids, though larger organisms like macro parasites and fungi can also infect.

Hosts normally fight infections themselves via their immune system. Mammalian hosts react to infections with an innate response, often involving inflammation, followed by an adaptive response. Pharmaceuticals can also help fight infections. The branch of medicine that focuses on infections and pathogens is infectious disease medicine.


Infection begins when an organism successfully colonizes by entering the body, growing and multiplying. Most humans are not easily infected. Those who are weak, sick, and malnourished, have cancer or are diabetic have increased susceptibility to chronic or persistent infections. Some pathogens grow within the host cells (intracellular) whereas others grow freely in bodily fluids.

Diagnosis of infections can be difficult as specific signs and symptoms are rare. If an infection is suspected, blood, urine and sputum cultures are usually the first step. Chest x-rays and stool analysis may also aid diagnosis. Spinal fluid can be tested to ensure that there is no brain infection.

In children the presence of cyanosis, rapid breathing, poor peripheral perfusion, or a petechial rash increases the risk of a serious infection by greater than 5 fold. Other important indicators include parental concern, clinical instinct, and temperature greater than 40 °C.

Source from: Wikipedia

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