Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

The respiratory syncytial virus, more easily known as RSV, is a very common virus that infects and sickens people, usually the very young and, as is increasingly recognized, also the elderly. Most infected people will not be able to distinguish RSV infection from the common cold, but in some cases, especially among premature infants, RSV […]

Coronavirus

Coronavirus refers to a relatively small group of viruses that were first identified in the 1960s from the respiratory tracts of humans.  Over the course of time, it was recognized that coronavirus infection is quite common in humans, as well as in some other animals, although those viruses do not always have the ability to […]

Herpes Simplex Viruses

As is often the case with microorganisms, and the diseases or infections they can cause, it is important to be specific in our language and our understanding to avoid making embarrassing, or even dangerous, errors in judgment and assumption. This can be particularly true in the case of the herpes viruses, which have a rather […]

Influenza

“Influenza” is a generic term that describes a large host of variant viruses that are closely related. These viruses are not differentiated, as bacteria are, by genus and species but rather through a complex naming process that first distinguishes between the three major types of influenza viruses, either A, B, or C, and then the […]

Vibrio

Vibrio is a genus of bacteria that includes several species that are important causes of human disease. The most infamous of these diseases is caused by Vibrio cholerae, which causes cholera. Other significant species causing illness in humans are Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus. Globally, these infections sicken many people and are sometimes fatal.

Streptococcus pyogenes

Streptococcus pyogenes refers to a specific genus and species pair which shares many common characteristics with a wide range of microorganisms in the same genus. For sake of convenience at the expense of scientific specificity, we will refer to Streptococcus pyogenes from here on out simply as strep, although this is understood to apply only […]

Mucormycosis – Fungi in the News

Recent news reports have highlighted the potentially serious, and usually deadly, risk of the fungal disease known as mucormycocis. While Mucor refers to a specific genus of fungi with thousands of species included, the disease is not exclusively caused by the Mucor genus; other genus of fungi may be implicated. Mucormycosis Risk While mucormycosis is […]

Staphylococcus

Staphylococcus is the genus name of a very large group of closely related bacteria, some of which are commonly found on and in the human body, and some of these bacteria are notorious causes of infection and disease. Among the most common of these bacteria that are capable of causing disease are Staphylococcus aureus and […]

Shigella

Shigella is a genus group of bacteria that contains four species, S. dysenteriae, S. flexneri, S. boydii, and S. sonnei.  While these are frequently referred to as “species,” it is probably more scientifically correct to refer to them as biotypes of Escherichia, but because of the important medical differences between infections with Shigella versus most […]

Serratia

Serratia is the genus name of a group of relatively common bacteria, the most common of which is Serratia marcescens.  There are other species within the genus, a few of which have on rare occasion caused disease in humans, but the vast majority of infections with the Serratia occur with Serratia marcescens, and from this […]