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Medical Fomite and infectious disease transmission

  1. Nov 30, 2007 #1


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    I am surprised that this term was not found in this or the biology forums when I searched for it. I'd never heard of it until my sister, a pediatrician mentioned it in conjuction with a discussion about MRSA and infectious diseases in genera.

    The term is well known to those involved in infectious diseases. One will have to search for particular contexts - http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/index.htm

    Meanwhile, I found this article:

    Answers here - http://www.classy-kid.com/germ.html [Broken]

    I plan on verifying this information with my sister.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 30, 2007 #2


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    Personally, I would have to say their answer for #3 is wrong.
    The whole concept of vaccination is based on the concept that the immune system does learn.
  4. Dec 1, 2007 #3


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    Anyone taking a microbiology class will learn that term. Though, it's really just a fancy word with a very general meaning, so not much need to use it. The classic first microbiology lab focuses on fomites (as a way of demonstrating why students need to be extremely careful to avoid contamination of cultures), which involves swabbing a variety of surfaces, such as table tops, bottoms of shoes, door knobs, and table tops after being treated with disinfectants, and growing cultures of the bacteria picked up by those swabs to see how "dirty" those surfaces really are.

    It's really important, in this context, to distinguish between bacteria and viruses. Immunizations protect against viral infections, not bacterial infections. Exposure to viruses can confer long-term immunity, but exposure to bacteria may not.
  5. Dec 3, 2007 #4


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    I was of the impression that tetanus and pneumococcus were bacteria.
    The tetanus vaccine is old while the one for ear infection is quite new.
    But I'll agree that exposure may not result in immunity.

    There is also some indication that exposure to bacterial pathenogens modifies the way the immune system responds to subsequent chalenges and that this has potentially significant heath consequences.
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