Access to Health Care & Pathogen detection

Nowadays, one of the issues concerned with health is the access to comprehensive health care services and facilities in several areas including the surveillance of food and water, environment quality control and clinical diagnosis. The access to health services and facilities refers to the timely use of appropriate health related services to achieve better health outcomes, which is important for improving the quality of a healthy life for everyone. The access to health care directly has impacts on the quality of life, the overall physical, social and mental health status, the detection and treatments of health conditions, the prevention of diseases and disabilities, reducing preventable deaths and increasing life expectancy.

Figure 1. Access to health care influence the health status of individuals and population
(Picture from Healthy People 2010 and 2020 identify access to care as a leading indicator of health)

Figure 2. Distribution of the relative number of works appeared in the literature on detection of pathogenic bacteria.

Food industry is one of the main areas concerned with the presence of pathogenic bacteria, failing to detect which leads to serious consequences. In 2005, there was an outbreak of salmonella in Spain, caused by a batch of contaminated pre-cooked chicken. The failing to detect the accumulation of this pathogen finally resulted in 2500 cases of infection and at least one death of salmonellosis. In Germany, there was another outbreak of pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria, Escherichia coli 0104:H4 in 2011, causing enterohaemorrhagic infections. These outbreaks of gram-negative bacteria raised requirements for more sensitive, specific and cost-effective methods for pathogen detection in food quality control.

Figure 3. The infection and death caused by 2011 E. coli O104:H4 outbreak.
(Picture from Case definition for HUS-cases associated with the outbreak in Germany)

The detection of pathogenic microorganisms is essential for clinical diagnosis as well. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus are two pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria causing various diseases including ventilator-associated pneumonia, cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Infection by these two pathogens leads to serious problems related to human health. Fast and sensitive detection of these pathogens is required for rapidly administered and appropriate antibiotic treatments in serious medical conditions.

The access to health care is one of the critical issues related to health all around the world while pathogen detection is a major part of it. To ensure higher life quality and health status, access to the detection of pathogenic microorganisms, especially pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria, is essential and required to be improved.


[1] Lazcka O, Campo F, Munoz F X. Pathogen detection: a perspective of traditional methods and biosensors[J]. Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2007, 22(7): 1205-1217.

[2] Nassif X. A revolution in the identification of pathogens in clinical laboratories[J]. Clinical infectious diseases, 2009, 49(4): 552-553.