How Microorganisms Can Cause Health Breakdown

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Assessment Type

Case Study

Word Count

1200 words




2 Days

Assignment Criteria

Aim of assessment 

The aim of this assessment is to increase students' understanding of how microorganisms can cause health breakdown, and the role of relevant pharmacological interventions in the recovery processes. Students will explore various modes of transmission, relevant characteristics of pathogens and the importance of breaking the chain of infection. This assessment facilitates the development of the following skills: critical appraisal of the nurse's role in infection control, literature searching, and academic writing and referencing. 


Students are provided with a hypothetical case study to read. They then must answer the questions provided relating to the study. Students should draw on relevant literature provided to support their answers, and reference using the APA 6th Ed. style

Please note: 

 Students must respond to each of the questions using academic writing. It is anticipated that the work will be presented in a question / answer format using full sentences and paragraphs. Students MUST use the electronic template (provided by University) for this assignment. A soft word copy must be accessed from the Unit vUWS site. 

 As a guide, please aim to write around 35 words per allocated mark for each question. Thus, if a question is worth 10 marks, aim to answer it in around 350 words. 

 There is a word limit of 1200 words. Use your computer to total the number of words used in your assignment. However, do not include the reference list at the end of your assignment in the word count. In-text citations will be included in the additional 10% word count. If you exceed the word limit by more than 10% the marker will stop marking at 1200 words plus 10%. 

Case Study: 

Brian (88 years old) is a resident at a high dependency aged care facility (nursing home). He has developed infectious conjunctivitis in his right eye. On examination, his eye was found to be red and swollen with a purulent and sticky discharge. His vision was unaffected; however he did complain that his eye was painful. The doctor prescribed gentamicin eye drops which were to be administered to both eyes. 

Using the supplied template (to be accessed from the Assessment tab in the Unit's vUWS site), answer the following questions: 

Q1. Background of the case study (Total: 5 marks

1.1 What is infectious conjunctivitis? (1 mark) 

1.2 Of the four micro-organisms listed below, justify which one is more likely to be the cause of Brian's eye infection. Indicate why the other micro-organisms from the list are less likely to cause the infection. (4 marks) 

Legionella pneumophila 

Plasmodium ovale 

 Adenovirus 

Escherichia coli 

Q2. Mechanism of action and adverse reactions (Total: 5 marks) 

2.1 Describe the mechanism of action of gentamicin (4 marks) 

2.2 Name two possible adverse reactions to this drug (1 mark) 

Q3. Mediators of signs and symptoms (Total: 10 marks). 

3.1-3.3 Identify and discuss the various chemical and cellular mediators which are responsible for any three signs or symptoms of Brian's condition (10 marks). 

Q4. Infection control issues (Total 5 marks) 

4.1-4.2 Identify and discuss two infection control issues associated with high dependency aged care facilities that can contribute to the spread of conjunctivitis (5 marks). 

Q5. Transmission of infection (Total: 5 marks) 

5.1 Mary who resides in the room next door was diagnosed with the same eye infection 4 days later. Describe how the organism could have been transmitted from Brian's eye to Mary's eye (describe the chain of infection that could have occurred form Brian's eye to Mary's eye) (5 marks). 

Q6. Breaking the chain of infection (Total: 5 marks) 

6.1 Describe two procedures nurses will need to undertake to prevent the infection from Brian's eye being transmitted to another individual. Clearly explain how each procedure will effectively break the chain of infection (5 marks). 

Q7. Presentation: 5 marks. See template 

The template plus the prescribed ref list have a word count of 269 and 188 words respectively (total=447 words).  The case study allows for 1200 words (+/- 10%), therefore your total maximum word count would be 1200 + 447 = 1647 plus 10% of 1200 words or 120 words, which equals 1767 words.  Subsequently, the template and reference list will account for about 27-30 % similarity that you needn't worry about.  You can also see which highlighted components of your work are from the references and template so can easily focus on just the parts that show similarity outside of these two entities.

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Assignment Solution

This template must be used to answer the case study

(Please type your answers within the box underneath each question)

  • Background of the case study (Total: 5 marks)
    1. What is infectious conjunctivitis?
  Infectious conjunctivitis refers to an inflammation and infection of the conjunctiva of our eyes (the outer surface of the eyes and the inner surface of eyelids), which result in dilatation of blood vessels, causing our eyes to become red. The inflammation may be limited to conjunctiva (primary conjunctivitis) or it may spread to secondary tissues like the iris, which is referred to as secondary conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis may be caused due to mechanical irritants like smoke and dust or may be caused by viral or bacterial pathogens. Bacterial causes are rare while viruses are the chief causes of pathogenic or infectious conjunctivitis (Boustcha, & Nicolle, 1995
  1. Of the four micro-organisms listed below, justify which one is more likely to be the cause of Brian's eye infection. Indicate why the other micro-organisms from the list are least likely to cause the infection. 

Legionella pneumophila

Yes or no, with reason:

No, it is a common cause of atypical pneumonia. Atypical pneumonia has different symptoms than lobar pneumonia which is marked by the absence of fever or a cough and the lobar congestions are restricted to particular lobe (Lehne, 2013)

Plasmodium ovale

Yes or no, with reason:

No, it causes malaria. Malaria is a disease where a protozoan like Plasmodium invades Red blood corpuscles for maintaining their life cycle causing patients to become anaemic due to the disintegration of haemoglobin.   (Lehne, 2013)


Yes or no, with reason:

No, although common causes of conjunctivitis are adenoviruses which cause adenoviral kerato-conjunctivitis. (Lehne, 2013). In certain it may be caused by the herpes simplex virus too. However, they produce watery discharge and not thick and purulent discharge.

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