infection vs. infestation

Gisella Orjeda g.orjeda at
Thu Nov 6 03:31:05 EST 1997

Hi, I am having a discussion about the use of these two words (infection
vs. infestation) with reference to Fusarium oxysporum.  I have a colleague
that says that "the soil is infested with Fusarium while the plant is
infected with fusarium" is the correct way of saying but I think that It
should be stated that the "soil is infected with fusarium and the plants
are infected with fusarium".  
He says that the word infected only applies to alive things while infested
applies to innanimate things.
My opinion is that the word infested should be used according to the nature
of the disease agent for example infestation applies to any organism or
area that has been overrun by a macroscopic pest (worms, nematodes, fleas
etc) while the word infect for me is related to a microscopic disease
agents such as fungi (Fusarium) or bacteria.  
this discussion is in very unequal terms because english is not my mother
tongue and I am not a pathologist while he is an american pathologist but I
think i am right.

any help to elucidate this will be appreciated
Gisella Orjeda

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