Microbes have inhabited the earth for billions of years and may be the earliest life forms on the planet. They live in every conceivable ecological niche—soil, water, air, plants, rocks, and animals. They even live in extreme environments, such as hot springs, deep ocean thermal vents, and Antarctic ice. Indeed microbes, by sheer mass, are the earth’s most abundant life form and are highly adaptable to external forces. How does our modern lifestyle bring us into greater contact with infectious agents—the “bad” microbes? And when we encounter them, how do they get into our bodies?
Infectious Disease Videos
What do you know about infectious disease?
True or False: The clearing and settlement of tropical rainforests has exposed woodcutters, farmers, and ecotourists to new vector-borne diseases.
The clearing and settlement of rainforests has exposed woodcutters, farmers, and ecotourists to new vector-borne diseases.
Sorry, that’s incorrect.
The clearing and settlement of tropical rainforests has exposed woodcutters, farmers, and ecotourists to new vector-borne diseases.
Infectious Disease Defined
The process of producing a copy of a strand of DNA or RNA.
National Academies Press
Search the National Academies Press website by selecting one of these related terms.
- Infectious Disease Movement in a Borderless World—Workshop Summary (2010)
- Microbial Evolution and Co-Adaptation: A Tribute to the Life and Scientific Legacies of Joshua Lederberg (2009)
- Global Infectious Disease Surveillance and Detection: Assessing the Challenges, Finding Solutions—Workshop Summary (2007)
- The New Science of Metagenomics: Revealing the Secrets of Our Microbial Planet (2007)
- The Impact of Globalization on Infectious Disease Emergence and Control: Exploring the Consequences and Opportunities—Workshop Summary (2006)
- Ending the War Metaphor: The Changing Agenda for Unraveling the Host-Microbe Relationship—Workshop Summary (2006)