Medical microbiology , the large subset of microbiology that is applied to medicine, is a branch of medical science concerned with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases. In addition, this field of science studies various clinical applications of microbes for the improvement of health. There are four kinds of microorganisms that cause infectious disease: bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses, and one type of infectious protein called prion. Medical microbiology , the large subset of microbiology that is applied to medicine, is a branch of medical science concerned with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases. In addition, this field of science studies various clinical applications of microbes for the improvement of health. There are four kinds of microorganisms that cause infectious disease: bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses, and one type of infectious protein called prion. A medical microbiologist studies the characteristics of pathogens, their modes of transmission, mechanisms of infection and growth. Using this information, a treatment can be devised. Medical microbiologists often serve as consultants for physicians, providing identification of pathogens and suggesting treatment options.Other tasks may include the identification of potential health risks to the community or monitoring the evolution of potentially virulent or resistant strains of microbes, educating the community and assisting in the design of health practices. They may also assist in preventing or controlling epidemics and outbreaks of disease.Not all medical microbiologists study microbial pathology; some study common, non-pathogenic species to determine whether their properties can be used to develop antibiotics or other treatment methods. Epidemiology, the study of the patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in populations, is an important part of medical microbiology, although the clinical aspect of the field primarily focuses on the presence and growth of microbial infections in individuals, their effects on the human body, and the methods of treating those infections. In this respect the entire field, as an applied science, can be conceptually subdivided into academic and clinical subspecialties, although in reality there is a fluid continuum between public health microbiology and clinical microbiology, just as the state of the art in clinical laboratories depends on continual improvements in academic medicine and research laboratories. In 1676, Anton van Leeuwenhoek observed bacteria and other microorganisms, using a single-lens microscope of his own design. In 1796, Edward Jenner developed a method using cowpox to successfully immunize a child against smallpox. The same principles are used for developing vaccines today. Following on from this, in 1857 Louis Pasteur also designed vaccines against several diseases such as anthrax, fowl cholera and rabies as well as pasteurization for food preservation. In 1867 Joseph Lister is considered to be the father of antiseptic surgery. By sterilizing the instruments with diluted carbolic acid and using it to clean wounds, post-operative infections were reduced, making surgery safer for patients. In the years between 1876 and 1884 Robert Koch provided much insight into infectious diseases. He was one of the first scientists to focus on the isolation of bacteria in pure culture. This gave rise to the germ theory, a certain microorganism being responsible for a certain disease. He developed a series of criteria around this that have become known as the Koch's postulates. A major milestone in medical microbiology is the Gram stain. In 1884 Hans Christian Gram developed the method of staining bacteria to make them more visible and differentiable under a microscope. This technique is widely used today.