Colonization Microbiology

∞ generated and posted on 2016.12.25 ∞

Achievement of more or less stable association of a microorganism with a given environment or microenvironment.

For a microorganism, Colonization represents some combination of growth and adherence that follows contamination of a body or environment and for a pathogen potentially preceding infection. To some degree contrast, however, simply colony formation.

Colonization of bodies by microorganisms involves in particular becoming a member of the normal microbiota, particularly rather than transient microbiota. This typically requires some means of adherence of organisms to surfaces.

The idea of colonization may or may not refer to the causing of disease by a given organism, though colonizations typically instead are described as infections. In fact, infections often can be described as passing through adherence and colonization steps before proceeding to infections. Note the ambiguity in the following quote:

A state of infection that results in a continuum of damage from none to great, with the latter leading to the induction of host responses that could eliminate or retain the microbe, or progress to or disease; for organisms that induce no damage during infection this state is indistinguishable from commensalism

For additional, historical discussions, see , which includes the following:

Microbes capable of causing disease are routinely from , and the decision to administer often depends on whether the microbe is judged to be a pathogen or colonizer. The contains different conclusions regarding the implications of recovering certain microorganisms from patients. For example, some of the have been associated with , demonstrating that the same organism can be a in one host and a pathogen in another . The recovery of C. albicans from multiple sites presents the vexing question of whether it is a reflection of colonization or infection. Similarly, it is often very difficult to distinguish between colonization and infection when gram-negative microbes, such as Pseudomonas spp., are recovered from individuals on in . In patients with , a variety of well-recognized bacterial pathogens can be continuously from the , even between .Concern that colonization can lead to higher rates of and transmission to others underlies the practice of administering to contacts of individuals with N. and S. infections .

See also the concept(s) of carriers or carrier state.