Microbes and humans share a long history of interaction, and the most successful microbes are those that inhabit but do not kill their host, although sometimes they make us so miserable, we almost wish they would. This probably happened because certain microbes and humans evolved together and along the way, they established complex strategies that enabled them to co-exist.

Tuberculosis settles into the lungs. The microbe causing ulcers burrows into the stomach where it thrives on acids. Salmonella typhi takes up residence in the gallbladder. All of these organisms can persist in our bodies for decades. Any microbe that was “cheating” the system, and tried to expand its territory in the body, wouldn’t survive because it would likely kill its host.

Researcher Martin Blaser says, “We did not make the laws of nature. Even though we may not like them, we need to understand them to better control infectious diseases.”

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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