Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Infectious Disease

1. any condition caused by the introduction of an organic foreign substance such as a virus, bacterium, or parasite into the body.

2. a disruption of normal homeostasis caused by a living organism (pathogen). Infectious disease was the main limiting factor of human longevity from the advent of agriculture until well into the 20th century.

Cf. communicable disease. Examples are AIDS, malaria, typhus, coccidioidomycosis, and schistosomiasis.

See also disease and disorder.

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