Infectious diseases can be caused by many pathogens , including bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites that may cause illness and diseases. For humans, transmission of pathogens may occur in a variety of ways: spread from person-to-person by direct contact, water or foodborne illness or aerosolization of infected particles in the environment and through insects like mosquitoes and flies.
What are infectious diseases:
Infectious diseases are the disorders caused by organisms such as – bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. Many organisms live in and on our bodies. They are normally harmless or even helpful. But under certain conditions some organisms may cause diseases. Signs and symptoms and treatment of infectious diseases depend on the host and pathogen.
What are the symptoms of infectious diseases?
Symptoms of infectious diseases are particular to the type of disease. For example, symptoms of influenza include –
- Muscle aches and headache
Other infectious diseases, such as Shigella, cause more serious symptoms including –
- Bloody diarrhea
- Dehydration (lack of fluid)
You may experience one or several symptoms of an infectious disease. It is important to see a doctor if you have any chronic (ongoing) symptoms or symptoms that get worse over time.
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What are infectious diseases caused by?
Infectious diseases in humans are caused by microorganisms including –
- Viruses that invade and multiply inside healthy cells.
- Bacteria, or small, single-celled organisms capable of causing disease
- Fungi which include many different kinds of fungus Parasites, which are organisms that live inside host bodies causing sickness.
How do infectious diseases spread?
Infectious diseases spread in multiple ways. In many cases, direct contact with a sick individual, either by skin-to-skin contact (including sexual contact) or by touching something another person touches, transmits the disease into a new host. Contact with body fluids, such as blood and salvia, also spreads infectious diseases. Some diseases spread through droplets discharged from a sick person’s body when they cough or sneeze. These droplets linger in the air for a short period of time, landing on a healthy person’s skin or inhaled into their lungs. In some cases, infectious diseases travel through the air for long periods of time in small particles. Healthy people inhale these particles and later become sick. Only certain diseases spread with airborne transmission, including tuberculosis and the rubella virus.
Who is most at risk for getting infectious diseases?
Anyone can get an infectious disease. People with a compromised immune system (an immune system that doesn’t work at full strength) have greater risk for certain types of infections. Those at higher risk include –
- People with suppressed immune systems, such as those going through cancer treatment or who have recently had an organ transplant.
- Those who are unvaccinated against common infectious diseases.
- People traveling to at-risk areas where they may be exposed to mosquitoes that carry pathogens such as malaria, dengue virus and Zika viruses.
How common are infectious diseases?
Infectious diseases are extremely common worldwide. Some infectious diseases strike more often than others. For instance, in the United States, one out of every five people is infected with the influenza virus each year.
What complications are associated with infectious diseases?
Many infectious diseases cause complications. These can range from mild to severe. For some conditions, complications may include wheezing, skin rash, or extreme fatigue. Mild complications usually disappear as the infection resolves. Certain infectious diseases may cause cancer. These include hepatitis B and C (liver cancer), and human papillomavirus (HPV).
How are infectious diseases diagnosed?
Doctors diagnose infectious diseases using a variety of laboratory tests. Sample of blood, urine, stool, mucus or other body fluids are examined and provide information used in the diagnostic process. In some cases, doctors identify infectious organisms by examining them under a microscope. Occasionally, laboratories must grow or culture the infectious organism from a sample to confirm its presence.
How are infectious diseases treated?
Treatment depends on which microorganism causes infection. If bacteria cause a disease, treatment with antibiotics usually kills the bacteria and ends the infection Viral infections are usually treated with supportive therapies, like ret and increased fluid intake. Sometimes people benefit from antiviral medications. Doctors treat fungal and parasitic infections with antifungal medications. In all cases, doctors treat specific symptoms of infectious diseases according to the latest medical guidelines. Talk with your doctor about your symptoms to explore possible treatment options.
How can infectious diseases be prevented?
Vaccines are available to prevent many common infectious diseases, including hepatitis, diphtheria, influenza and herpes zoster. It is highly recommended to provide vaccinations for children, adults to prevent infectious diseases. You can also reduce your risk of contracting an infectious diseases by:
- Washing your hands with soap and water thoroughly and frequently
- Covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough
- Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces in your home and workplace
- Avoid contact with sick people or sharing personal items with them
- Not drinking or swimming in contaminated water.
- Not eating or drinking food and beverages prepared by people who are sick.