Germ Facts



  • Germs are microscopic organisms that enter your body and cause harm.
  • The scientific word for germ is ‘pathogen.
  • When germs begin to multiply inside your body, you are suffering from an infectious disease.
  • An infection that spreads throughout your body (flu or measles, for example) is called a systemic infection.
  • An infection that affects only a small area (such as dirt in a cut) is called a localized infection.
  • It is often the reaction of your body’s immune system to the germ that makes you feel ill.
  • Bacteria are single-celled organisms. They are found almost everywhere in huge numbers, and multiply rapidly.
  • Most bacteria are harmless, but there are three harmful groups – cocci are round cells, spiral bacteria are coil-shaped, and bacilli are rod-shaped. These harmful I bacteria cause diseases such as tetanus and typhoid.
  • Viruses can only live and multiply by taking over other cells – they cannot survive on their own. They cause diseases such as colds, flu, mumps and AIDS.
  • Parasites are animals such as tapeworms that may live in or on your body, feeding on it and making you ill.
  • Fungal spores and tiny organisms called protozoa can also cause illness.