Humans have a variety of mechanisms to combat disease. As a basis for understanding this concept, students:
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Describe that human beings have body systems very similar to those of other animals, especially other mammals (warm-blooded vertebrate animals that have, in the female, milk-secreting organs for feeding the young).
Explain that some diseases are caused by germs (harmful microorganisms such as some bacteria and viruses) and some are not, and those caused by microorganisms may be spread to other people.
Explain that disease-bearing microorganisms, called pathogens, can enter the body and interfere with the proper function of various parts of the body.
Recognize that there are beneficial microorganisms, such as normal intestinal flora.
Explain that washing hands with soap and water reduces the number of pathogens that can get into the body or that can be passed on to other people.