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An organism that causes an infectious disease, for example a virus or bacteria.

Use in clinical context

Infectious organisms include pathogenic bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi. The route of infection can be direct, for example by a sneeze, or indirect, for example by parasites transmitted via an insect vector, or bacteria ingested on contaminated food.

Genomic information from an infectious organism can help to accurately diagnose and treat disease. This can be particularly helpful when different infectious diseases have symptoms that overlap each other, making diagnosis difficult. Genomic information can also be useful when different strains of an infectious organism have different properties, for example if one strain responds to different drugs to another.

An additional use of genomic information is to aid in identifying clusters of infections or the source of an outbreak.

Last updated on 30th December, 2021