Microorganisms are very tiny living organisms which cannot be seen by the unaided eyes, but can be seen with the use of microscopes or magnifying lenses. They can be found in air, pond, water, rivers, oceans, streams, soil, and food, in our bodies and on our bodies as well.
TYPES OF MICROORGANISMS
There are different types of microorganisms which live around us and they include bacteria, virus, some algae, protozoa, and some fungi. These microorganism when come in contact with causes serious problems to human and animal health although there are some microorganisms which are as well beneficial to the human health and contributes to the wellness of the individual.
Bacteria can be defined as single-celled, prokaryotic microorganisms which exist in abundance in both living organisms and in all areas of the earth (e.g., soil, water). By nature, they can be either “good” (beneficial) or “bad” (harmful) for the health of plants, humans, and other animals that come into contact with them.
A virus is acellular which have no cell structure and requires a living host to survive; it causes illnesses in its host, which causes an immune response. Bacteria are alive, while scientists are not yet sure if viruses are living or non-living; in general, they are considered to be non-living.
Infections caused by harmful bacteria can almost always be cured with antibiotics. While some viruses can be vaccinated against, most, such as HIV and the viruses which cause the common cold, are incurable, even if their symptoms can be treated, meaning the living host must have a strong enough immune system to survive the infection.
Hereby are listed some of the similarities between a bacteria and a virus
Both bacteria and viruses causes diseases
Both bacteria and viruses contain protein molecules
They neither reproduce sexually
Both bacteria and virus contain water
Both bacteria and virus contains enzymes and DNA
Inasmuch as they are similar, there may be also some differences which are highlighted below
Bacteria live independently of themselves while a virus requires a host to function effectively.
Bacteria are intercellular organisms while viruses are intracellular organisms
Not all bacteria are harmful but all viruses are harmful
Bacteria are living organisms but its been debated whether viruses are living or non-living things.
Viruses cannot be killed by antibiotics but antibiotics kills most bacteria with the exception of the Gram negative bacteria.
Note that viruses may be grouped into DNA or RNA virus. Their protein coats may be icosahedral or helical. The viruses may be enveloped or naked, e.g. Adeno virus and Picorna virus are naked while Herpes virus, Toga virus and Paramyxo virus are enveloped.
TYPES OF MICRO ORGANISMS FOUND IN AIR AND WATER
Microorganisms found in air are as follows; Micrococcus, Bacillus, Sarcina, spores of some fungi like Mucor, Rhizopus, and Penicillium.
Microorganisms found in water are; Bacteria, Algae, and some fungi.
MICROORGANISMS FOUND IN THE HUMAN BODY
Some microorganisms grow abundantly on the surfaces of the human body including the hair, nails, skin, scalp, and conjunctiva. They can also be found in the nose, lungs, respiratory channel, mouth, throat, stomach, intestine, external genitalia and vagina.
WAYS THROUGH WHICH MICRO ORGANISMS ENTER THE HUMAN BODY
1. Alimentary tract through the mouth
2. Respiratory tract through the nose
3. Skin through open wounds
4. Skin through the hair follicles
5. Sweat glands through the sweat ducts
6. Genital tracts through the vaginal opening
EFFECTS OF MICROORGANISMS ON THE HUMAN BODY
1. Microorganisms are responsible for human diseases like tooth decay, ringworm and athlete’s foot.
2. Normal body functions are disrupted by these pathogens
3. Pathogenic viruses or bacteria produce antibodies when they enter the body which combat and neutralize the organisms and their toxins
4. Redness, heat and swelling of the affected parts of the body are due to their activities.
5. Microorganisms induce the body to produce proteins known as Interferons which help to combat the viral infection but are non-specific unlike anti-bodies.
CARRIERS OF MICROORGANISMS
Certain insects carry microorganisms from place to place using their hairy bodies, legs, mouth parts such as proboscis. Such insects are called carriers, e.g. houseflies, mosquitoes, tsetse flies, and cockroaches. These carriers pick up pathogens from dirty places and carry them and leave them on our exposed food which may then be along with the food.