pathogen(redirected from Disease agent)
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Related to Disease agent: communicable disease, Infectious diseases
Any agent capable of causing disease. The term pathogen is usually restricted to living agents, which include viruses, rickettsia, bacteria, fungi, yeasts, protozoa, helminths, and certain insect larval stages. See Disease
Pathogenicity is the ability of an organism to enter a host and cause disease. The degree of pathogenicity, that is, the comparative ability to cause disease, is known as virulence. The terms pathogenic and nonpathogenic refer to the relative virulence of the organism or its ability to cause disease under certain conditions. This ability depends not only upon the properties of the organism but also upon the ability of the host to defend itself (its immunity) and prevent injury. The concept of pathogenicity and virulence has no meaning without reference to a specific host. For example, gonococcus is capable of causing gonorrhea in humans but not in lower animals. See Medical mycology, Medical parasitology, Plant pathology, Plant viruses and viroids, Virulence