By M.L. Baker  |  Posted 2005-03-07 Print this article Print

-Viral Pathogens That Infect Humans"> For an idea of what researchers have to work with, the list of sequenced non-viral pathogens that infect humans, along with closely related pathogens, is below. Of course, along with the chicken, chimpanzee, dog, rice and other well-known organisms, many microscopic ones have been sequenced. The complete list includes many bacteria that infect plants as well as many bacteria useful for food, manufacturing and health. Bacillus anthracis (causes anthrax, nine strains sequenced)
Bacillus cereus (causes food poisoning, four strains sequenced)
Bacillus subtilis (relative of the bacteria that causes pneumonia) Bacteroides fragilis (normally lives harmlessly in the gut, but can cause fatal infection if it escapes into the body) Bartonella henselae (causes cat-scratch disease) Bartonella quintana (causes trench fever, characterized by fatigue and a rash) Bordetella bronchiseptica (causes respiratory problems) Bordetella parapertussis (relative of bacteria that causes whooping cough) Bordetella pertussis (causes whooping cough) Borrelia burgdorferi (causes Lyme disease) Brucella melitensis (causes Malta fever) Brucella suis (causes flu-like disease) Burkholderia mallei (causes glanders, used as a bioweapon in the Civil War) Burkholderia pseudomallei (causes meliodosis) Campylobacter jejuni (major cause of food poisoning) Candida glabrata (a yeast that causes yeast infections) Chlamydia muridarum (relative of bacteria that causes chlamydia) Chlamydia trachomatis (causes chlamydia, which can lead to infertility) Chlamydophila caviae (related to a bacteria that can cause blindness) Chlamydophila pneumoniae (causes pneuomonia and bronchitis) Clostridium perfringens (causes food poisoning) Corynebacterium diphtheriae (causes diptheria) Coxiella burnetii (causes Q fever) Cryptosporidium hominis (a parasite that causes diarrhea) Cryptosporidium parvum (a parasite that causes diarrhea, sometimes spread in swimming pools) Encephalitozoon cuniculi (a parasite that causes diarrhea, pneumonia and bronchitis) Enterococcus faecalis (normal a peaceful resident of the gut, can infect wounds and the urinary tract) Escherichia coli (though most strains are harmless, some can cause food poisoning or other disease, four strains sequenced) Fusobacterium nucleatum (infects liver, neck, chest and lung, associated with gum disease) Haemophilus ducreyi (causes ulcers, may help transmit HIV) Haemophilus influenzae (not to be confused with the flu virus, this bacteria causes respiratory and ear infections and was the first organism to be sequenced) Helicobacter hepaticus (relative to bacteria causing ulcers) Helicobacter pylori (leading cause of stomach ulcers, can cause stomach cancer) Legionella pneumophila (causes a form of pneumonia, Legionnaires disease) Leptospira interrogans (causes leptospirosis) Listeria monocytogenes (causes listeriosis) Mycobacterium bovis (relative of bacteria causing tubercolosis, infects cattle) Mycobacterium leprae (causes leprosy) Mycobacterium tuberculosis (causes tubercolosis) Mycoplasma genitalium (causes infections of humans reproductive tracts) Mycoplasma mycoides (causes infections of cattles reproductive tracts) Mycoplasma penetrans (causes infections of the urogenital and respiratory tracts) Mycoplasma pneumoniae (causes a pneumonia-like disease) Mycoplasma pulmonis (causes respiratory infections in rodents) Neisseria meningitidis (causes meningitis) Nocardia farcinica (causes potentially fatal lung or nerve infection) Pasteurella multocida (causes cholera in birds and infectious arthritis in humans) Plasmodium falciparum (this parasite causes malaria) Plasmodium yoelii yoelii (this parasite causes malaria in rodents) Porphyromonas gingivalis (causes gum disease) Propionibacterium acnes (causes pimples and, perhaps, corneal ulcers and gallstones) Protochlamydia amoebophila (relative to bacteria that cause pneumonia and venereal disease) Pseudomonas aeruginosa (can cause fatal lung infections in people with cystic fibrosis) Rickettsia conorii (causes spotted fever) Rickettsia typhi (causes a milder form of typhus) Rickettsia prowazekii (causes typhus, responsible for millions of deaths) Rickettsia sibirica (causes North Asian tick fever) Salmonella enterica (causes typhoid fever) Salmonella typhimurium (causes gastrointestinal disease) Shigella flexneria (causes severe diarrhea, leading to many infant deaths in developing countries) Staphylococcus epidermidis (normally harmless, can infect wounds) Streptococcus agalactiae (known as group B strep, causes life-threatening infections) Streptococcus mutans (causes much tooth decay) Streptococcus pyogenes (known as group A strep, causes Strep throat, toxic shock syndrome and rheumatic fever) Treponema denticola (causes gum disease) Tropheryma whipplei (causes Whipple disease) Ureaplasma urealyticum (infects the urinary tract) Vibrio cholerae (causes cholera) Vibrio parahaemolyticus (causes gatrointestinal disease) Vibrio vulnificus (relative of bacteria that causes cholera) Yersinia pestis (causes plague)
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Monya Baker is co-editor of's Health Care Center. She has written for publications including the journal Nature Biotechnology, the Acumen Journal of Sciences and the American Medical Writers Association, among others, and has worked as a consultant with biotechnology companies. A former high school science teacher, Baker holds a bachelor's degree in biology from Carleton College and a master's of education from Harvard.

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