The Microbe World

What are Microbes?             |              Where Do They Live?

Microbes are everywhere - a largely unseen world of living things that support life processes. "The Microbe World" provides a comprehensive directory of micro-organisms and their activities.
Home
Introduction
Classification
Helpful or Not?
Shapes
Habitats
Top Honors
Cafeteria
Safety
Safety Quiz
Microbe Quiz
Microbiology
Careers

Top Honors for Being the Ugliest

The good, the bad, and the ugly in microbe world! Sounds like a western movie! Let’s find out about the the ugliest of the ugly - those microbes that are most deadly of all:

HIV/AIDS - The Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV causes the disease we know as AIDS. AIDS is a pandemic—a disease outbreak that is happening all over the world. In 2000 alone, 3,000,000 people died of AIDS. Since the AIDS pandemic began around 1985, almost 22,000,000 people have died from the disease. Right now, HIV infects more than 36,000,000 people across the world, so that death toll will definitely get a lot bigger over the next several years. HIV doesn’t kill people itself. Instead, the virus shuts down a person’s immune defenses—the tools used to fight off invading microbes—by infecting and destroying important immune cells called T cells. Once a person loses too many T cells, his or her body can no longer deal with other microbes that cause infections. HIV merely opens the floodgates. Eventually HIV-infected people become overrun by harmful microbes and die of lung infections, skin infections or other diseases.

The Flu Virus - Every year during what’s called "the flu season" tens of thousands of people get the flu. Despite feeling all achy and lousy for several days, most people eventually beat the virus and recover just fine. Worldwide, the flu virus has killed at least 21,000,000 people.

The Plague - Back in the 14th century, the bacteria that causes bubonic plague, or the Black Death as it was also known, was the deadliest microbe of all. In just a few years, from 1347 to 1351, the plague killed off about 75,000,000 people worldwide, including one-third of the entire population of Europe at that time. The plague bacteria cause painful swellings as large as an orange to form in the armpits, neck and groin. These swellings, often burst open, oozing blood and pus. Blood vessels leak blood that puddles under the skin, giving the skin a blackened look. That’s why the disease became known as the Black Death. At least half of its victims die within a week. The pneumonic form of plague causes victims to sweat heavily and cough up blood that starts filling their lungs. Almost no one survived it during the plague years.

Yersinia pestis is the deadliest microbe ever known, although HIV might catch up to it. Yersinia pestis is still around in the world. Fortunately, with bacteria-killing antibiotics and measures to control the pests—rats and mice—that spread the bacteria, it is being conquered.

Ebola, the Bloody Virus - Ebola is definitely an ugly killer. It is part of a group of viruses that, among other effects on the body, cause the blood to stop clotting. Victims begin oozing blood from their mouths, noses, internal organs, even their eyes. It kills up to almost 90% of those who get infected. With that kind of death rate, Ebola would be the deadliest microbe of all if it was more common.


Quizzes | Sitemap | Home | Message Board | SKC Homepage