What Causes Infections?
The way in which bacteria causes diseases describes in a simple way
The aim of this page is to provide basic simple information about viral and bacterial
infections The information provided should only be used as information and never to
diagnose or to treat infections.
A Graphical Presentation of the Way Bacteria Cause Tissue Damage
Infections are caused by tiny agents , only visible with the help of microscopes. In
ordinary English they are also known as germs and bucks.
Viruses are even smaller than bacteria and are so small they are not visible with
the ordinary light microscope, They are only seen with the help of an electron microscope.
In the next section we will give a graphical oversimplified description about the
mechanisms germs use to cause tissue damage and destruction.
The first drawing shows an ordinary cell
This is just to show the basic structure of a cell. Cells form the building blocks of our
bodies They come in different sizes and shapes . The are very small and only visible with the
aid of a microscope. The all have the basic structure shown here. The red area in the
cell represents the nuclease where the DNA or genetic material (genes) are stored.
The next drawing shows a cell surrounded with bacteria.
Bacteria are much smaller than even the smallest human cell. Here bacteria are represented by red rods
that surrounds a cell.
The next drawing shows the cell is damaged
Bacteria are living organisms and need food to survive. Some of them produce
substances that digest living tissue for food. There are also other ways in which they cause
tissue destruction but that is beyond the scope of this site.
The next drawing illustrates bacteria attacking and invading tissue.
The bacteria is attacking normal tissue causing damage, The body is reacting by
increasing blood flow to the area. The damaged area became inflamed, red, swollen
The most common places in the female body attacked by bacteria are the vagina, the cervix and
the fallopian tubes.
A Graphical Presentation of the Way Viruses Cause Tissue Damage
The first drawing again shows a normal cell.
The next drawing show a cell surrounded by viruses.
This cell is surrounded bay viruses. In reality viruses are even much smaller in relation
to cells than they appear on this drawing.
The next drawing shows how a few viruses entered a the cell.
The virus is now inside the cell and are going to take over control. The cell
will be altered and assume new functions as explained in the next drawing.
The next drawing shows how the cell is altered and producing new viruses.
The cell is altered by the invading virus. The virus contains either DNA or RNA
(the material containing genes) and the viral genetic material changes the cell.
The cell's function is changed and instead of functioning normally all it's
resources is now directed in producing new viruses. Some of these virus
producing areas in the cell are visible on light microscopes as inclusion
bodies and may help doctors in diagnosing viral infections.
The next drawing shows the death of the cell and the releasing of new viruses
The cell died and it's cell wall ruptured. Viruses are released and this new viruses
will infect other cells , causing destruction of more cells.
The next drawing shows how a viral infection is destroying tissue.
Severe tissue destruction caused by a viral infection is shown. The tissue destruction also causes
an inflammatory reaction with pain and swelling.
Certain viruses only attacks
certain tissues while others can effect the whole body.
Many of the most feared diseases are caused by viruses, diseases like polio, small pox,
encephalitis (brain infections)and yellow fewer . Influenza , the common cold, measles,
chicken pox are also examples of viral infections.
Herpes is a virus disease that effects the external genitalia.
A virus might also enters a cell without causing an immediate change in the cell. It
may become part of the cell's DNA (genetic material) . This type of virus may play
an important role in the development of abnormal growths and cancer. The cell and and it's
successors are slowly changed until they are abnormal to such an extend that the body is unable to
control there growth.
Bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics, specialized drugs that kill
bacteria while having very little or no influence on human cells. Viruses are manufactured
in cells and antibiotics have no effect on them. There are now anti viral drug available. The way
in which they work are very complicated and they are mostly just effective against the
herpes and HIV types of viruses.
What happens to the tissue that was damaged by the infection?.
1. It heals completely.
2. It heals nearly completely with scarring.
3. It heals with a lot of scaring effecting function ( an example is blocked fallopian
tubes following an infection)
Look under damage tubes.
4. The infection becomes chronic. In this case healing and scarring occurred
but the healing is incomplete. The infectious agent continuous to cause damage
in spite of the attempted healing of the damage area. This type of infection can cause
severe damage and deformity in the effected organs.
LAST UPDATE 09 July 2003
Copyright Female Health Made Simple 2003