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Basic scientific knowledge and definitions


        Anthroponosis: Disease which is transmitted from human to human.

        Biological agent (according to the definition of the EU directive 2000/54/EC): Microorganisms including genetically modified organisms, which can cause allergies, infections or toxic effects (viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, protozoa, algae, prions). These organisms can be very different in size. Human and animal cell cultures are also found in the group of biological agents, because they can potentially be infected with the mentioned agents.

        Direct transmission (with respect to humans): faecal-oral transmission (smear-infection); transmission through the air (droplet infection); genital transmission  (during sexual intercourse); transmission over the skin (at skin contact?); diaplacentary transmission (during pregnancy); perinatal transmission (during birth); horizontal transmission; vertical transmission.

        Disposition: State or specific circumstances of the individual host, which lead to a different severity of the disease.

        Epidemic potential: Possibilities of the spread of a disease in a host population.
3 forms are differentiated:
Epidemic: locally and timely restricted (e.g. Salmonella)
Pandemic: locally unlimited, timely restricted (e.g. Influenza)
Endemic: sporadic returning disease in restricted areas (e.g. early summer-encephalomeningitis (FSME)

        FSMEFrhsommer-Encephalomeningitis (FSME) ? Was ist das? Sollte man das nicht das erste Mal ausschreiben?)


        Genetically modified organisms (agents): organisms, whose genetic material has been changed through genetic processes in such a way, which can not occur under natural conditions such as breeding or recombination (ordinance on the contained use [ESV], SR 814.912)

        Contained systems: Installations, that prohibit or diminish through physical barriers or through a combination of physical, chemical or biological barriers the contact with humans (incl. Workers) or with the environment. (ESV, SR 812.912)

        Immunprophylaxis: Possibility to suppress a disease through a vaccination. In general the effect is timely restricted and from time to time new vaccinations have to be done (Tetanus every 10 year?, yellow fever every 10 year, influenza every year). There are also active vaccinations, where the antigen stimulates the production of a specific antibody (e.g. hepatitis B-, tetanus-vaccinations). For living vaccines attenuated organisms are used (e.g. yellow fever-, polio-vaccines)., Recombinant vaccines are recombined in such a way with the help of molecular biology methods, that they are no longer virulent {die sich jedoch unter Umstnden noch vermehren knnen: ist dieser Satz wichtig im Zusammenhang mit Immunprophylaxe?} (e.g. Orochol as cholera-vaccine). Dead vaccines contain destroyed organisms (e.g. whooping-cough vaccine). In development are most recently also DNA-vaccines.

        Indirect transmission: Transmission through foodstuffs or drinking water; transmission through different, dead, contaminated objects or liquids; transmission through vectors (arthropods); transmission through humans (e.g. through hands of medical personal); transmission through contaminated vehicles or devices.

        Infection: Penetration of non-endogen pathogens (like bacteria, viruses and other organisms; intake through food, environment or from other humans) into the host organisms, reproduction and reaction of the host.

        Dose of infection: minimal dose necessary to elicit the disease (e.g. Francisella tularensis [Tularemia through respiratory tract]: 10 cells; Salmonella typhi [Typhus through digestive tract]: 105 cells; Escherichia coli [diarrhoea through the digestive tract]: 108 cells; foot and mouth disease virus: approx. 10 virus particles per cow; Bluetongue: 1 virus particle per sheep)

        Mode of infection/mode of transmission: Way of penetration of a pathogen into an organism. Chain of infection: Reservoir (Reproduction of a biological agent in an organisms without disease symptoms) transmission (e.g. through insects [malaria]) host species with of the disease.

        Spectrum of infection/susceptibility: Sum of species, which can be infected by a biological agent. A host species must be susceptible to the biological agent.  Susceptibility can be made by physical characteristics (e.g. receptors), circumstances of life or individual factors (e.g. mental state, constitution,  sex-linked disposition, age disposition, livestock breeding fro animal viruses etc.)

        Time of incubation: Time interval from the infection to the first symptoms of the disease: e.g. SARS: 5-11 days; foot and mouth disease: 3-13 days..

        Invasiveness / Infectiousness: The virulence of a pathogen is dependent of the invasiveness and infectiousness, i.e. of the penetration into and reproduction in the host. Some pathogens use receptors for the penetration into the host (e.g. Bordetella pertussis infects epithelial cells of the respiratory tract and induces whooping cough; Vibrio cholerae binds to the am epithelium of the intestine and causes cholera).

        Lethality: Number of the people that died of an illness with respect to he sum of all diseased people. The lethality rate is the ratio of the number of the deceased people with respect to the newly infected people (makes only sense with acute illnesses): e.g. SARS infection 14%; West Nile virus infection: 14%.

        Morbidity: Number of sick people with respect to the whole population (e.g. 1000, 10000 etc.).

        Mortality: Number of the people that died of an illness with respect to the whole population.

        Pathogenicity: Ability of a biological agent to induce an illness. Biological agents can be a pathogen for one organism but not for the other (e.g. certain animal pathogens like foot and mouth disease are totally harmless for humans).

        Resistance: Certain biological agents can be resistant to traditional drugs, i.e. the drug have no effect (e.g. multi-resistant TB?=tuberculosis bacteria?).

        Tenacity: Capability of surviving outside of the host organism (e.g. polio viruses can survive up to 100 days in waste water; spores of Bacillus. anthracis almost unlimited; foot and mouth disease viruses can survive up to 6 months in the environment etc.)z.

        Toxicity: Dose-dependent characteristics of chemical substances and physical factors. Symptoms of certain pathogens (e.g. tetanus, diphteria) are not solely dependent on the reproduction of the pathogen, but also on the toxins that they synthesize and secrete. Certain toxins can also be produced outside of the host organism, i.e. without a reproduction in the host (e.g. mycotoxins of Aspergillus, Botulinum-toxin of Clostridium). Partly these toxins are very stable in the environment.

        Virulence: The virulence determines the severity of a disease. Certain pathogens can loose their virulence (e.g. attenuated vaccine strains). The virulence is determined by virulence factors such as invasiveness, infectiosity and toxicity.

        Zoonosis: Pathogens are transmitted from a vertebrate to a human (e.g. rabies, FSME, plague etc.). A difference is made between the following zoonoses:
Direct zoonoses: Transmission through direct contact with secretion products (e.g. rabies, TB, SARS);
Zyklozoonoses: several vertebrates (intermediate- and end-hosts) are necessary for the development of the pathogen (e.g. echinococcosis);
Metazoonoses: Transmission through biotic vectors (e.g. insects, bats, rodents) with parallel reproduction of the pathogen (e.g. West Nile virus, Nipah, Hendra);
Saprorzoonoses: Transmission through abiotic vectors like food (e.g. hepatitis A or E, Campylobacter);
Latent Zoonoses: Cause no diseases for animals but do that for humans (e.g. E. coli 178);
Food borne zoonosis: Food sickness through microorganisms which are latently zoonotic.

Habe die Begriffe noch alphabetisch geordnet.


 Wie steht es mit den Begriffen der Molekularbiologie? Sollten diese nicht hier auch kommen? Oder gibt ein anderes Glossar?

Terms of molecular biology

        Amplicon: End product of a PCR (amplification product); specific DNA fragment of defined size (approx. 150 - 600 Base Pairs=bp), which is defined by the two primers.

        Annealing: Annealing of the primers at the hybridisation step of the PCR.

        Chromosome: defined part of the entire genome.

        Denaturation: Melting of the hydrogen bonds of the DNA double helix at temperatures above approx. 90C. Single stranded DNA is produced (first step in the hybridisation technique with DNA-probes or in the PCR).

        DNA-hybridisation: Forming of double-stranded DNA from single strands (probes) through base pairing of complementary sequences to the target DNA.

        DNA-concentration: The absorption of DNA in an aqueous  solution of 1.0 at 260 nm corresponds to a DNA-concentration of 50 μg/ml double-stranded DNA.

        DNA-probe: Single-stranded DNA which is connected to one or many marker molecules.

        Extension: Polymerisation step of DNA in the PCR with the help of Taq-DNA-polymerase.

        mRNA: The copy of a gene is named messenger-RNA. Because of the mosaic-like structure of the eukaryotic genes, i.e. the presence of exons and introns, the primary transcripts also contain parts of sequences which do not code for a protein. The intron get exactly spliced out and the ends of the exons (protein coding sequences) are ligated. The process of the generation of mature mRNA from primary transcripts is called splicing.

         Negative control: Control reaction without any DNA template (water, buffer, medium) or with DNA of a species that will not react in the PCR.

        Nested PCR: PCR of an amplicon with a further pair of primers, which are located inside the amplicon of the first PCR. The specificity and sensitivity is clearly enhanced with that approach.

        Nucleic acids: Aliphatic macromolecules, which serve to the storage and transfer of the genetic information. There is desoxyribonucleic acid and ribonucleic acid.

        Nucleotide: Base element (desoxynucleoside triphosphate) for the synthesis of DNA.

        Oligonucleotides: Specific pieces of single-stranded DNA (for PCR and hybridisation)

        PCR (polymerase chain reaction): Specific, exponential amplification of a piece of DNA from a mixture of  desoxyribonucleic acids.

        Plasmid: Circular DNA-molecule; it contains the genetic elements which allow autonomous reproduction in bacteria or yeast cells.

        Positive control: Control reaction of added target DNA (template) or of the DNA of the desired species.

        RNA: Ribonucleic acids.