UPSC IAS Prelims Exam: Diseases and causing agent

Science and Technology or General Science is one of the subjects of UPSC IAS Prelims syllabus. It covers both the conventional and dynamic areas that consist of conceptual and factual question types. The prominence of General Science can be seen from the number of questions asked in the previous years. Hence, here we bring an analysis of the questions asked in the UPSC Prelims question papers, with respect to diseases and disease-causing agents.

For example, E-coli bacteria, virus, worms were in the news. It is the most discussed topic in the science world. The changing climatic patterns and natural disasters have resulted in the emergence of disease. Here we are discussing an essential area from the Biology of the General Science –Diseases and causing agents. About 2- 3 can be asked from this area for UPSC IAS Prelims Examination. Thus, the post-it will be helpful for the upcoming UPSC IAS Prelims Exam.

General Science –Diseases and causing agents


Bacteria are prokaryotes, a minuscule single-celled organism that grows well in varied environments. They can live inside soil, in the ocean, and inside the human bowel. They can be differentiated by, by their shape, the nature of their cell walls and genetic differences. The bacteria multiply by a process called binary fission.

Diseases Bacteria
Cholera Vibrio cholerae
Leprosy Mycobacterium Leprae
Plague Yersinia pestis
Pneumonia Streptococcus pneumoniae
Tetanus Clostridium tetani
Tuberculosis Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Typhoid Salmonella typhi
Whooping Cough Bordetella pertussis.


The virus is a tiny infectious agent that duplicates only inside the living cells of other creatures. These are diverse in nature and can infect animals, plants, and microorganisms and transmitted by biological vectors only. It is made up of a DNA or RNA genome inside a protein shell known as the capsid. Some viruses have an internal or external membrane covering. It lacks enzymes essential for the energy production.

Diseases Virus
AIDS Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
Chicken pox Varicella-zoster virus.
Common Cold Rhinovirus
Chikungunya Chikungunya virus (CHIKV)
Dengue fever Dengue virus
Ebola Ebola virus
Foot and mouth Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV)
Hepatitis A Hepatitis A Virus(HAV)
Measles Measles virus
MERS Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)
Mumps Mumps virus.
Rabies Rabies virus
Small Pox Variola virus



The Protozoa are a varied cluster of unicellular eukaryotic organisms which consume bacteria and other food sources. The diseases caused by Protozoa are life-threatening and dangerous.

Diseases Protozoa
Amoebic dysentery Entamoeba Histolytica.
Kala Azar Leishmania Donovani.
Malaria Plasmodium parasite
Sleeping sickness Trypanosoma Brucei.

Previous year UPSC IAS Prelims questions on diseases and causing agents

Which of the following statements is / are correct? (UPSC IAS Preliminary Exam-2013)

  1. Viruses lack enzymes necessary for the generation of energy.
  2. Viruses can be cultured in any synthetic medium.
  3. Viruses are transmitted from one organism to another by biological vectors only.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Answer: C

Practice Question:

Recently, Foot and mouth disease was in the news. The foot and mouth disease is caused by:

  1. Bacteria
  2. Virus
  3. Protozoa
  4. Fungi

Answer: B

Also Read:

DengueJapanese Encephalitis VirusZoonotic Diseases


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