How to create a case study
The case studies are meant to be an enjoyable, interesting, and informative assignment. This is your chance to show that you understand the key teaching points about a microbe and to communicate these points to in a written format. Have at least 3-4 key referenced points in each of the five areas. The chart below suggests the type of information requested for the pathogen. Outlines can be in whatever form you prefer (bullets/charts/outlines/diagrams or a mix). Be sure to include two discussion questions (and provide complete answers) that you can incorporate into your case study (place them at the end of your write-up). These questions should help connect your case to other material in the course. For example, what other microbes have an A-B toxin? What other viruses are transmitted by fecal-oral spread? Pertinent references can be listed at the bottom of your outline in a small font. Use Council of Science Editors (CSE) Style format for all references. Your textbook may be listed as “Microbiology: A Human Perspective Eugene W. Nester et.al. McGraw-Hill Publisher 7th edition/ 2012”.
What does a typical case look like? Use the standard format for a patient presentation with chief complaint (CC), history of present illness (HPI), key physical exam details (PE), lab findings, signature signs, and any other important findings.
Description of the infectious agent
If it is a bacterium, how is it classified? If it is a virus, what kind of nucleic acid does it have? Does it target specific cellular types (tropism)? Does it form a spore? Is it aerobic? Is it intracellular? Can it only be grown in a specific type of media? How is it distinguished from other members of the species? Does the pathogen have a significant history with humans or animals?
What do you feel are the most important points about the epidemiology of the disease? Incidence? Portal of entry? Source? Is it a normal microbiota component in the human body? Does it only occur in certain populations or certain geographical areas? Is there a vector involved? What and who is the vector? Is it zoonotic? Does it appear seasonally? Are there currently any outbreaks of this pathogen? What is its ecological niche? Is there a reservoir? Are there currently any outbreaks or epidemics of disease from this pathogen?
What is the range of diseases caused by the agent? What organs are affected? What symptoms might the patient have? What is the disease course? Will the patient recover? Are there any long-term sequelae of infection? Latency?
Is there an antitoxin? Specific antibiotics or a class of antibiotics that are used? Is there a vaccine available? Is treatment curative? Does infection make you immune? Is this immunity life-long? Is there drug resistance? Are there novel treatments?
Be sure to consider the directions carefully and include all the requested information (especially the two discussion questions with responses and scientific literature references).
Discussion questions you may choose from, choose 2:
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