The Microbiology Society issues topical briefing papers, which provide need-to-know information on various subjects such as hospital-acquired infections, climate change and pandemic influenza. These resources are prepared with the help of our members. To request hard copies of these resources please contact our Policy Officer on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over a billion people suffer from relatively minor fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot and thrush, while more serious fungal infections are thought to cause around 1.5 million deaths worldwide each year. Human fungal disease burden could be greatly reduced by improving development of, and global access to, new antifungal treatments and rapid diagnostics. Strengthening public health capabilities and research on understanding and preventing fungal infection is also important.
The soil microbiome – the community of soil micro-organisms found in soil – is crucial for food security and the health of our soils. Microbiologists are investigating better understanding of the diversity and function of the soil microbiome, and harnessing it as a tool for sustainable agricultural intensification.
Micro-organisms play crucial roles in climate change as users and producers of greenhouse gases. Climate change is increasing risks to public health and agriculture from microbial diseases. Managing and harnessing microbial processes could help us mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Emerging zoonotic diseases are infectious diseases that can be transmitted between vertebrate animals and humans, which have been newly identified, or are increasing in incidence or geographic range. Examples include Ebola, avian influenza and West Nile virus. They pose threats to global public health and economic security.
Food waste in the UK is a valuable, sustainable energy source, once anaerobic digestion has broken it down into biogas.
Endemic livestock diseases are found in cows, pigs, sheep and poultry and include mastitis, tuberculosis, avian colibacillosis, and salmonellosis. They are caused by infectious micro-organisms, some of which rapidly evolve to escape control.
Fusarium wilt is caused by a fungus, Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense. The TR4 strain targets Cavendish bananas, as well as many other banana varieties.
Polio is a serious viral infection that can cause paralysis.
Measles is a viral disease spread through inhaling viral particles from infected coughs and sneezes.
Microbiology is vital to preserve a sustainable, safe and secure food supply.
The human microbiota is the community of trillions of micro-organisms that live on and in the body. It can play a vital role in regulating our health and has been linked to diseases such as type II diabetes and Crohn’s disease. It is therefore under intensive scientific investigation.
Ash dieback is an infectious disease of ash trees caused by a microscopic fungus, Chalara fraxinea.
Watch the Hot Topic Lecture: Legionnaires' disease - dead legs and shower heads, which featured at the Society for General Microbiology Autumn Conference held at University of Warwick, 3-5 September 2012.
Malaria is an infectious disease caused by a single-celled parasitic organism, Plasmodium, which infects the blood and liver.
Watch Mike Gleeson's talk: Fighting Fit - how exercise affects your immunity and susceptibility to infection
Watch the Hot Topic Lecture Schmallenberg virus - fact from fiction, which featured at the Society for General Microbiology Spring Conference 2012 held at the Convention Centre Dublin, 26-29 March 2012.
Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease that caused illness in an estimated 8.8 million people globally in 2010 and led to 1.45 million deaths.
Viruses and Cancer: Worldwide, viruses are associated with the development of around 15% of cancers. In 2010, viruses were found to be linked to around 9,750 (3%) cancer cases in the UK, with human papillomavirus (HPV) responsible for around half of these.
Food-borne pathogens are a major threat to food safety. Most food-borne illness is caused by infection by microbial pathogens that have entered the food chain at some point from farm to fork. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that food-borne and water-borne diarrhoeal diseases together kill around 2.2 million people annually.
Influenza or ‘flu’ is a viral infection that mainly affects the nose, throat and lungs. Good hygiene practices such as correct hand washing are essential to help prevent the spread of flu.