This chapter is a brief introduction to pathogenic microorganisms and also discusses virulence factors. An understanding of virulence factors is important, as they represent potential targets for the detection of microbial pathogens. Sources and routes of infection are also briefly discussed with reference to specific examples. There are a number of ways in which infection could be acquired, including via contaminated food and water; hospital acquired infection; “naturally acquired” infection; and intentional infection, for example, through the use of biological warfare agents. The focus of the review is predominantly on human pathogens. However, there are a range of other microbial pathogens of particular importance in other areas; for example, animal and plant pathogens, which will not be discussed. Finally, a brief overview of the detection of pathogenic bacteria is presented.


Virulence Factor Pathogenic Microorganism Foodborne Pathogen Bordetella Pertussis Yersinia Pestis 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tracey Elizabeth Love
    • 1
  • Barbara Jones
    • 2
  1. 1.Defence Science and Technology LaboratoryPorton DownUK
  2. 2.Chemical Sciences and Technology Laboratory, Biochemical Science DivisionNational Institute of Standards and TechnologyGaithersburgUSA

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