Infectious disease or communicable disease is that disease which spreads from one person to another due to micro-organisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and protozoa. The disease causing germs are called pathogens. We get such infections through air, water, contact, cuts, sexual contact and from agents like mosquitoes, flies etc.
Diseases caused by viruses
Cold - It is the most common infectious disease. It spreads through moisture droplets during sneezing and coughing.
Influenza - It is another common disease. The symptoms of this disease are cold. fever and chill. It spreads through droplet infection.
Poliomyelitis - causes paralysis of the legs. It spreads through discharge from the nose and throat and by faecal matter.
Jaundice - It is a disease of the liver. In this disease, the skin, eyes and urine turn yellow. It spreads due to unhygienic food and contaminated water.
AIDS - It is caused due to a virus called HIV. It weakens the immunity of self-defense mechanism of the human body. AIDS makes the person prone to many other infectious diseases. It spreads through sexual contact, blood transfusion and infected syringes. Children may get this disease through the infected mother's blood during pregnancy.
Diseases caused by bacteria
Tuberculosis - It is usually a disease of the lungs, although other parts of the body may be affected. It spreads through the sputum of an infected person.
Wooping cough - It primarily occurs in children. It spreads through a discharge from the throat of an infected person.
Cholera - It is caused due to infection in the intestine. It causes vomiting and loose motions and spreads through contaminated food and water.
Diseases caused by moulds and fungi
Ring worm - It is a disease of the skin, hair or nails. It spreads through contaminated clothes and articles.
Athlete's foot - It attacks the skin of the foot, particularly, between the toes.
Disease caused by protozoa
Malaria - It is caused by a protozoan plasmodium which enters the human body through the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito.
Amoebic dysentery - Its symptoms are diarrhea with gripping pain, along with a discharge of mucus. It spreads due to the contamination of food by flies.
To continue their race, the pathogens try to come out of the body of an infected person and reach out to more hosts for their survival. These pathogens transfer from a patient to a healthy person, generally in the following ways:
Direct method or
Direct method - Diseases like measles, chicken pox and fungal infections can spread through direct contact with an infected person.
Indirect method - This includes the following
Touching and sharing items used by the infected person: The use of same towel, handkerchief or same bed, sharing the same utensils which were handled by the patient may spread disease to a healthy person. Diseases like tuberculosis, common cold etc. may be transmitted by this method.
Contaminated food and drink - When vegetables not washed properly or washed with contaminated water it gives rise to many intestinal diseases. The germs or infected vegetables and fruits on reaching our alimentary canal, multiply and cause the disease.
Vectors and carriers - Vectors are those organisms ( e.g. house flies, mosquitoes etc.) which carry germs from an infectious source but themselves do not catch the infection. For example, a mosquito while feeding on the blood of a malaria patient carries the germs from the infected patients body and gets them transferred into the blood streamof a healthy person through bite.
Houseflies carry germs from garbage and sewage and deposit them on food. A person consuming such contaminated food is likely to get the disease.
Tips and comments:
Always drink bottled, filtered or boiled water to prevent infection. Never ignore fever. If it remains undiagnosed, there could be a drastic drop in the platelet count.
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