Why would a germ want to make me sick?
November 10, 2007 6:35 PM Subscribe
Why do bacteria and viruses make us sick?
posted by serazin to science & nature (30 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm taking microbiology right now, and one thing is really confusing me: how does a host's illness benefit a parasitic organism? If a bacteria or a virus is primarily 'interested in' consuming and reproducing, wouldn't they be better served by hosts that are healthy instead of ill? I understand that some bacteria do have neutral or beneficial effects on their hosts, but I don't understand why so many organisms are pathogenic. It seems to me that especially organisms that cause fatal illnesses make little evolutionary sense. (Although I guess they do make sense since so many fatal pathogens are thriving!)