Microbial Pathogens


Microbial pathogens are microorganisms that are capable of producing disease.


Virtually all groups of bacteria have some members that are pathogens. Other disease-causing microbial agents are viruses and parasitic protozoa. Earlier methods of detecting and identifying microbial pathogens involved culturing and isolating bacterial colonies in growth media in the lab. With the advent of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays, identification of microorganisms became more definitive.


Bacterial pathogens can be controlled antibiotics. However, these drugs are not effective against viruses or parasites, and indiscriminant use may increase the percentage of resistant strains of bacterial pathogens in any population. Antibiotic resistance has resulted in the reemergence of several disease. Many of the major bacteria causing disease in humans had at least one subtype or strain that is characterized by bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Viruses may also exhibit resistance to antiviral medications.

Marie H. Bundy

  This information is not a tool for self-diagnosis or a substitute for professional care.