Medical microbiology is a subset of medicine and microbiology, concerned with the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of infectious diseases that are the result of microscopic pathogens, such as bacteria, fungi, parasites or viruses. Medical microbiology focuses on the presence and progress of microbial infections, as well as researching treatment options and the prevention or control of epidemics.
In 1796, Edward Jenner developed the first vaccine, for the prevention of smallpox. Louis Pasteur developed several vaccines using this same technique, and in 1929 Alexander Fleming developed the most commonly used micro-biotic substance: penicillin. These are the precursors to modern medical microbiology.
The many infections that plague human beings are the result of pathogens mentioned above. Such pathogens can be transmitted through direct contact, indirect contact (such as touching a contaminated substance), through droplets from coughing or sneezing, through the air, or even through ingesting food or water contaminated from fecal matter. Medical microbiology not only studies these pathogens and their transmission, but also looks for ways to prevent such diseases from becoming fatal. Serious infections must be treated with antimicrobial drugs, whether antibacterial, antifungals or antiviral drugs.