Course code VET357

VET357 Veterinary Microbiology

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2022 - 2023 .

Course responsible: Øystein Wessel
Teachers: Sabrina Rodriguez Campos, Alejandro Jimenez Melendez, Bjørn Kåre Gjerde, Mette Myrmel, Lucy Jane Robertson, Rune Henning Sørum, Espen Rimstad
ECTS credits: 16.5
Faculty: Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Teaching language: NO
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
Teaching exam periods:
This course has teaching and evaluation in the spring semester
Course frequency: Yearly
First time: Study year 2022-2023
Preferential right:
Course contents:
  • Bacteriology and mycology
  • Virology
  • Parasitology
  • Food safety

The teaching includes a general presentation of microbiology and its basic principles. The four sub-areas are taught in the order mentioned above, emphasizing factors of importance for disease development in animals and humans, such as hygiene, routes of infection and infection cycles, importance of infection pressure, host-pathogen interactions, and more.

In the special section, groups of infectious agents are discussed, and a more specific and detailed description of selected species/genera/families is included. Emphasis is placed on agents that could cause disease in animals, including fish, and agents that can cause disease in humans following food and waterborne infections. The teaching emphasizes the disease-causing properties of the various infection agents and introduces practical diagnostics, which, among other things, form the basis for disease control.

The teaching is given in lectures/other plenary (90 hours), mandatory courses (60 hours), and 101 hours of group work, where 41 hours are supervised.

Learning outcome:

Veterinary Microbiology will provide the student with basic knowledge about microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses, prions), parasites, and microbial toxins that can cause disease in animals and humans. The student will understand how the host can be protected against infection from pathogenic agents to which it may be exposed. Teaching and course training will enable the student to plan a diagnostic and epidemiological approach to diseases caused by agents that have an important clinical significance in veterinary medicine and agents of importance to public health.

The block forms the basis for the student to complete the following «Day One Skills» for EAEVE after graduation: 1.4, 1.6 - 1.13, 1.21, 1.22, 1.24, 1.28, 1.29, 2.1 - 2.10, 3. B. a) and d)

After completing the teaching, the student should:

  • Have a good knowledge of important microorganisms, parasites, and microbial toxins that can cause disease in animals and humans
  • Describe principles for the structure and replication/life cycle of different microorganisms and parasites.
  • Describe taxonomy used for the characterization of microorganisms and parasites.
  • Explain reservoirs, routes of infection, virulence factors, and pathogenesis associated with important microorganisms and parasites.
  • Explain diagnostic methods and extraction of relevant sample material from individuals and herds/populations and microbiological examination of food, water, and the environment.
  • Carry out selected diagnostic methods and explain and interpret analytical results regarding microorganisms and parasites.
  • Explain the central principles of infection and production hygiene.
  • Handle potentially infectious material in a professional and hygienic manner.
  • Get training in collaborating through group work and colloquia, and present the academic material both in writing and orally.
Learning activities:
Lectures, laboratory courses, group work/colloquiums and self-study.
Recommended literature and teaching objectives are found at the block's home area on Canvas.
Completed the first year at the program
Recommended prerequisites:
The course is especially based on VET356 Principles of Immunity and Disease
Mandatory activity:

All lab courses are mandatory. One day valid absence is allowed in each of the courses in bacteriology and parasitology. Absence is not permitted in the introductory course, nor during the courses in mycology, virology and food safety. In the event of absence above the permitted limit, a customized program may be offered, or if the abscence is extensive, the course must attend next year's course. It is up to the course teacher to assess the extent of the absence.

Safety requirements make the introductory course (1 day) mandatory to participate in the rest of the courses. In case of absence from the introductory course, the student must contact the course leader to assess the situation. Students will generally take the exam even though not all mandatory teaching has been approved. The grade will not be valid until the program requirements are approved.


VET357 is evaluated by an oral exam arranged in the last two days of the course.

The student is assessed in two of the four subject areas bacteriology/mycology, virology, parasitology, and food safety. After the assignment is given, the student has a preparation time without support materials of 30 minutes. The preparation time is followed directly by examination in the first subject area and then the second subject area. Each subject area is examined for 10 minutes. The student must pass both subject areas to achieve a successful result. Students who fail the oral exam must take a new exam with the opportunity to be assessed in all four subject areas.

Assessment: Each of the two examined subject areas is weighted 50% of the final grade. A score is given for each of the two subject areas that are merged and converted into grading scale A-E.

Examination support material: None.

It is not possible to appeal a grade in an oral exam.

Students with valid absences may in special cases, if there is scapacity, be allowed to take a postponed examination during the same examination period. Application is sent to the Department of Studies.

Nominal workload:
412,5 hours
Entrance requirements:
Admitted to the Veterinary Medicine Program and completed minimum 30 ECTS the first yeat at the program
Reduction of credits:
Type of course:
20-30 hours per week.

Requirements for personal equipment:

Lab coat is mandatory in course-related teaching (on loan at the laboratory).


Laboratory: Please see the instructions for the laboratory (Canvas). It is mandatory with lab coats.  There is a clean and unclean zone by the entrance to the laboratory. Hand wash and coat change is required at entry and exit. 

Training in fire protection is provided. It is mandatory with lab coats when working with gas. A first aid kit and an emergency shower are available. Gas plants are centrally controlled with a stopcock. The stopcock is demonstrated to the students at the first visit. The number of gas units is reduced to a minimum. Gas plants are checked prior to the instruction 2 times a year. There are separate fume hoods used where chemicals are used. Since working with infection subjects represent a real risk of infection, thorough training and a variety of security measures are initiated:

Intro Course:

  • Security policies and safety procedures are presented.
  • Routines are taught and rehearsed. Demonstrations and practical training, many supervisors present to supervise and guide.
  • It is not permitted that students are absent in this part.

Main courses:

  • Safety procedures are repeated. The review of safety procedures in the intro course and in the main course are held by two different people, which is considered to be an advantage when the same points are rendered slightly differently and it sits better with the students afterwards.
  • Introduction of discrepancy log - in other words spills and other incidents are logged; what happened, which students were involved and which follow-up were given.

Changes and procedures to prevent zoonoses: The following measures were introduced 2007-2009, to reduce the risk of laboratory infection in the course in infection learning:

  • Listeria monocytogenes replaced with Listeria ivanovii (Listeria ivanovii is not human pathogenic).
  • Salmonella Typhimurium replaced with Salmonella diarizonae (S. diarizonae is not human pathogenic).
  • Practical execution of the typing of Salmonella bacteria is not done anymore (now only demonstrated by the instructor).
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae (human pathogenic, especially for those with weak immune systems) is not used more.
  • Liquid culture has been replaced with Campylobacter sp. (human pathogenic) and we have minimized the use of other types of liquid media (cultures in liquid media involves greater risk for spillage than cultures on solid media).

Students with compromised immune systems or who are pregnant are particularly susceptible to infections, and special care must be taken when working with biological agents. This applies particularly to Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella pathogenic biovar, and Streptococcus pneumoniae. None of these agents are used further in the courses.

The oral exam is with external sensor.
Examination details: Oral exam: Letter grades