Requirements for the Written Assignment This assignment requires that you research a microbe of your choice, provide basic information on the organism and the disease it causes, and consider how a patient infected with this organism is managed. The purpose of the exercise is firstly to give you some experience with searching for microbiologically-related material online (or elsewhere), and secondly to allow you the opportunity to gather more information about a particular microbe that you may have always been curious about, but that we do not have time to cover in class. The microbe that you choose for this assignment is entirely up to you, as long as it belongs to one the following microbial groups: Viruses, Bacteria, Fungi, or Protozoa. Also, the microbe must be a known human pathogen (ie. able to cause disease in humans), as opposed to being exclusively a pathogen of animals or plants. Your report must include the following points and can be subdivided into these headings: 1. The Microbe. Give the complete scientific name of the organism and a short description of its pertinent biological features. For example, if your microbe is a bacteria, you should cover points such as its gram reaction, its morphological features, whether it has any special nutrient or growth requirements, its normal habitat (does it only live in humans, or can it be found in other environments such as animals or soil?), and any other relevant biological or physiological characteristics. If your microbe is a virus, is it an RNA or a DNA virus, is it enveloped or not, does it have any special replication patterns, etc. This section should not be longer than 1 double-spaced page. 2. The Disease. Describe the disease caused by your microbe, covering the following points: – What is the epidemiology of the disease (eg. how common is it; where geographically does it occur; does it occur in all humans or only a subset such as the immunocompromised)? – What are the typical symptoms associated with the disease? – How is the disease diagnosed and/or how is the microbe identified in the laboratory? – How does someone acquire this infection (what is the mechanism of transmission)? – What steps can be taken to prevent or minimize the risk of contracting the disease (is there a vaccine available and if so, how well does it work; is prevention mostly through avoiding contact; etc.)? This section should not be longer than 1.5-2 double-spaced pages. 3. The Patient. Describe how a patient with this disease is managed from a medical perspective, covering the following points: – Is there a specific treatment for this disease (eg. an antibiotic) and if so, how well does it work? If there is no treatment, how should the patient best be cared for? – What is the expected outcome after treatment (eg. would you expect the patient to be fully cured, or can there be long-term damage as a result of the disease, etc.) – What types of infection control measures must be used if this patient is hospitalized or in your care (ie. measures to protect both yourself and others in a health care facility)? Does this patient pose any special risk in the community? This section should not be longer than 1.5 -2 double-spaced pages. Other Important Information 1. Duplicated and/or Plagiarized Work This is intended to be an individual assignment. Chances are high that one of your friends will pick the same microbe as you – however you must each do your own research and each write your own report. Evidence of duplicated work between you and someone else will be penalized. 2. Format You do not need to follow a prescribed format or presentation style for the text or the references. All I ask is that you use complete sentences, organize your thoughts logically, and write clearly and concisely. For references, any format is acceptable – for example, you may use in-text citations if you wish, or simply just list all your sources on a separate page at the end. 3. References List all your sources whether they are web-based (give the web address and the date you accessed it), journals, or textbooks. Try to use a number of different sources to see if they all agree. A small part of your mark on the assignment is based on how much variety you have in your sources (just re-wording a single Wikipedia entry will not get you many marks). 4. Length As indicated above, aim for a length of 4 – 5 double-spaced pages, not including references. I will not penalize you if you are over the prescribed length as long as it’s within reason (ie. one-half to one page longer is OK – just remember that longer is not necessarily better). 5. Grading Scheme Marks will be assigned as follows (for a total of 18%): – 5% – for your description of the microbe – 6% – for your description of the disease – 5% – for your description of the patient and/or management of the disease – 2% – for your use of references (number used, types, and variety) Note that the assignments will only be “lightly” reviewed – in other words, because there are so many of you, I will not have time to provide a detailed critique of each assignment.
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