Infectious Diseases

Infectious Diseases

Infectious diseases are disorders caused by either bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. Some infectious diseases might be passed from person to person, while some others might be caused by consuming contaminated food or water or being exposed to organisms in the environment. Many infectious diseases, such as measles and chickenpox, can be prevented by vaccines. Frequent and thorough hand-washing also helps protect you from most infectious diseases.

What are the common symptoms?

Each infectious disease has its own specific signs and symptoms. However, the following are general symptoms that can be seen in most conditions:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Cough

How are infectious diseases transmitted?

  • Direct contact: An easy way to catch most infectious diseases is by coming in contact with a person who is infected.
  • Indirect contact: Disease-causing organisms can also be passed by indirect contact. Many germs can linger on an inanimate object. This is why hand washing is critical.
  • Insect bites: Some germs rely on insect carriers — such as mosquitoes, fleas, lice or ticks. Mosquitoes can carry the malaria parasite or dengue virus. Deer ticks may carry the Lyme disease bacteria.
  • Food contamination: Disease-causing germs can also infect you through contaminated food and water. Escherichia coli (E. coli), for example, is a bacterium present in or on certain foods — such as undercooked hamburger or unpasteurised food.

What are the complications?

Most infectious diseases have only minor complications, however, some — such as pneumonia, hepatitis B and C, AIDS and meningitis — can become life-threatening. Some infectious diseases may become silent, only to appear again in the future.

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