1. A local farmer presents to the hospital with a nasty wound.

The wound started as a small scratch that he sustained when butchering up a cow that had died on his farm.

Amazingly, the wound is not painful.

Normally the skin is a barrier to microorganisms. Name two qualities of the skin that make it the most important first line of defense.


2. In a burn patient, along with dehydration, what is the most important concern to doctors?

3. This is a sample taken from the farmer’s wound and view on a light microscope.

Do you think this is a type of bacteria, virus, or prion?  Why?


4. After being wounded, what type of cells (part of the second line of defense) begin to fight off bacteria?

How do these cells know that the bacteria have penetrated through the skin?

5. The man is prescribed clindamycin for the wound, since he is allergic to penicillin.

How could this antibiotic kill bacterial cells and not cause harm to the cells of his body?

6. If the farmer decides to stop taking the antibiotic before the infection is cleared up, what impact will this have on the bacterial population?

How does this relate to antibiotic resistance?

7. Many antibiotics, like penicillin, are derived from fungus or molds (or even other bacteria!)

Why would these organisms produce antibiotics?

8. We know that all bacteria are not harmful.  Other than the bacteria in the digestive tract, give one example of bacteria being useful to us.

9. The plot thickens…

· Later that day, the farmer’s wife comes into the office with severe gastrointestinal symptoms:

· abdominal pain

· fever

· severe diarrhea

· vomiting blood

What does the fever indicate?  Why can fevers be beneficial?

10. What could be a reason for her vomiting and diarrhea?

11. What does the swelling in the area of her neck indicate?


12. How did the bacteria enter her lymphatic system from the gastrointestinal tract? (Think of the villus structure when answering!)

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13. Could bacteria be in her bloodstream as well?  Explain.

· 14. The nurse takes the woman’s “vitals”.

· heart rate = 120 beats/min

· respiratory rate = 30/min

· blood pressure = 80/40

What do you think about these values?

15. The bacterial toxins generated by the infecting organisms can trigger complex reactions of the immune system including release of histamine.

How does histamine affect blood vessels?

Could this have anything to do with her vital signs?  Explain




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