infection vs. infestation
dgeiser at nospam.uclink4.berkeley.edu
Thu Nov 6 20:36:00 EST 1997
In article <01bcea8d$fd8b89c0$0a94dcc3 at PCOrjeda.inibap.fr> Gisella
Orjeda, g.orjeda at cgnet.com writes:
>He says that the word infected only applies to alive things while infested
>applies to innanimate things.
I'm not so sure that "infested" refers only to inanimate things.
Dogs are "infested with fleas", and both dogs and fleas
However, I have to agree that it is not good usage to say that
soil is infected, although my American Heritage dictionary does
not specify that an infectee must be living: "infect: to contam-
inate with pathogenic microorganisms"
I think this is a matter of style more than a matter of right or
wrong. When your Fusarium is living in the soil, it isn't causing
disease, is it? It's probably living as a saprobe. If it isn't
causing disease, I don't think it's appropriate to say that it is
engaged in infection. Perhaps even "infestation" is inappropriate:
that sounds as though the soil somehow doesn't like having Fusarium
Hope this helps,
(who just loves getting involved in these sorts of arguments)
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