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Diseases of Organ Systems

Our bodies consist of a number of organ systems that divide the work of the body to efficiently accomplish the activities necessary for life.  For instance, the cardiovascular system/circulatory system transport nutrients and waste throughout the body, while the nervous system sends signals to and from the tissues of the body to control functions.  We know these systems from our previous biology courses.

Infectious microbes often are associated with diseases of an organ system due to their unique ability to invade and grow in the environment of that system.  Conditions in the bladder differ significantly from those of the mouth, and so microbes capable of survival in one environment might not be much of a threat in the other.  For this reason, certain system infections immediately bring to mind probable causative organisms, though more rarely-encountered microbes remain possibilities until the cause is known.

Though infections may originate in one organ system, there are occasions when the disease spreads to others.  If a microbe is able to cross a barrier from one tissue to enter another organ system, new complications of the infection may arise.  Microbes from the mouth get into the bloodstream and travel to heart valves where they cause damage leading to heart murmurs.  Microbes from the digestive system find their way to the urogenital system to cause bladder and kidney infections.  Microbes pass the blood-brain barrier to to cause central nervous system infections.

In this collection of activities, you will look at diseases of five organ systems through the use of the VUMIE software and MDM lab manual.  In doing so, some commonly encountered scenarios are presented in the case studies and you will be introduced to some of the common causative organisms.