Understanding How Infectious Diseases Spread | expatwoman.com

Understanding How Infectious Diseases Spread

What is an example of an infectious disease and how do we prevent it from spreading?

Posted on

28 January 2018

Last updated on 30 January 2018
Infectious Disease

Dr. Prabhakar Patil a Specialist Paeditrician at Medcare Dubai will give us information on how infectious diseases spread in order to better protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Infectious diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi; the diseases can be spread, directly or indirectly, from one person to another, like common cold and flu.

What are the most common infectious diseases?

  1. Bacteria - strep throat, urinary tract infections, TB, pneumonia, ear infection.
  2. Viruses - common cold, measles, chicken pox, hand foot mouth disease, HIV.
  3. Fungi - skin diseases, such as ringworm and athlete's foot, are caused by fungi.
  4. Parasites - malaria, hookworm, roundworm, pinworm.

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The symptoms and causes?

Each infectious disease has its own specific signs and symptoms. General signs and symptoms common to a number of infectious diseases include: Fever, Diarrhea, Vomiting, Fatigue, Muscle aches, Coughing.

How are the infectious diseases spread?

Direct contact

An easy way to catch most infectious diseases is by coming in contact with a person or animal who has the infection:

Person to person. A common way for infectious diseases to spread is through the direct transfer of bacteria, viruses or other germs from one person to another. This can occur when an individual with the bacterium or virus touches, kisses, or coughs or sneezes on someone who isn't infected.

These germs can also spread through the exchange of body fluids from sexual contact. The person who passes the germ may have no symptoms of the disease, but may simply be a carrier.

Animal to person. Being bitten or scratched by an infected animal — even a pet — can make you sick and, in extreme circumstances, can be fatal. Handling animal waste can be hazardous, too.

Mother to unborn child. A pregnant woman may pass organisms that cause infectious diseases to her unborn baby. Some can pass through the placenta.

Indirect contact

Disease-causing organisms also can be passed by indirect contact. Many organisms can linger on an inanimate object, such as a tabletop, doorknob or faucet hand.

Insect bites

Some organism relies on insect carriers — such as mosquitoes, fleas, lice or ticks — to move from host to host. These carriers are known as vectors. Mosquitoes can carry the malaria parasite.

Food contamination

Another way disease-causing germs can infect you is through contaminated food and water. This mechanism of transmission allows organisms to be spread to many people through a single source. E. coli, for example, is a bacterium present in or on certain foods — such as undercooked hamburger.


Prabhakar Patil
Specialist Paediatrician