2.1 Infectious Agents

Learning Outcomes

After completing this module, the student will be able to:

  • Explain the major differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
  • List the major types of infectious agents and be able to distinguish between living and non-living agents.
  • Explain the key differences among bacteria, fungi, protozoa, viruses, and prions.
  • Describe how bacteria and viruses reproduce.
  • List and describe the four general patterns of viral infection.
  • Define ‘prion’, and discuss the role of prions in the epidemic of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in the United Kingdom.
  • Discuss the role of prions in Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD).
  • Discuss how the British BSE epidemic in cattle caused disease in humans.

Developed by Wayne W. LaMorte, MD, PhD, MPH, Assistant Dean for Education, Boston University School of Public Health.