Do you know that infectious organisms cause a large number of deaths worldwide? As medical scientists battle with novel diseases, the World Health Organization indicates that new diseases are emerging, and popular ones are building bases in locations worldwide.
Infectious diseases are caused by organisms such as viruses, bacteria, parasites, or fungi. A lot of these organisms live in the human body and are typically harmless. However, certain conditions may make some of them harmful by causing diseases.
What Are The Causes Of Infectious Diseases?
While some infectious diseases may be transmitted from one person to another, others are passed by insects or other animals. Infections may also be gotten from the consumption of contaminated food or water.
Primarily, however, these are the causes of infectious diseases:
- Direct Contact
Coming in contact with an infected person or animal is one of the way ways to catch most infectious diseases. Direct contact spans across:
- Person to person: As the name implies, this form of transmission occurs when an individual with the bacterium or virus touches, sneezes, or coughs on someone who isn’t infected. Interestingly, someone who has the disease but displays no symptoms may also infect another person.
- Animal to person: You may be infected by a disease if you are scratched or bitten by an infected animal, including pets. Some infections spring up from handling animal waste.
- Mother to an unborn child. Childbirth is another direct means of passing infection diseases. Some germs gain entrance into a child from the placenta or breast milk.
- Indirect contact
Many germs can stay on objects and surfaces, such as a doorknob, faucet handle, or light switch, for a long time. So when you touch these surfaces that an infected person has handled, you can pick up the germs they left. If you then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes with those hands, you could get infected. This is why it is advisable to wash your hands frequently.
- Contaminated Food
Diseases could also infect you through contaminated food and water. This form of transmission is quite potent as germs could be spread to several people from a single source. For instance, Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a bacterium present in certain foods — such as undercooked hamburgers.
As explained, harmless organisms could also result in some form of Infectious disease.
- Bacteria: Bacteria are micro-organisms that result in common illnesses such as urinary tract infections, strep throat, etc.
- Viruses: Viruses are even smaller than bacteria. They create several diseases ranging from minor health issues like a cold to serious ones like AIDS.
- Fungi: Fungi are responsible for skin diseases, such as ringworm and eczema. Some varieties of fungi can even infect the lungs.
- Parasites: Parasites live on or in a host organism and get their food from their host. The leading cause of malaria is a parasite that is transmitted by a mosquito bite.
When Should I See A Doctor?
While some infectious diseases may respond to home treatments, others might build up, become resistant, and result in severe complications if left unattended.
You may need to visit a doctor if you:
- Have been bitten by an animal
- Are having trouble breathing
- Have been coughing for more than a week
- Have severe headache with fever
- Experience a rash or swelling
- Have an unexplained or prolonged fever
- Have sudden vision problems
What Role Can I Play In Preventing Infectious Diseases?
You can prevent many infectious diseases simply by washing your hands, especially before and after cooking. Some infectious diseases, such as measles and chickenpox, can also be prevented by vaccines. Avoid sharing personal items, practice safe sex, travel wisely, store food safely, and, very importantly, stay home when ill.
At CCR, we encourage you to participate in our infectious disease clinical trials.
Through trials, new ways to treat, prevent and respond to infectious diseases are devised. To know more about this please contact CCR.
Carolina Clinical Research specializes in conducting clinical trials for infectious diseases, see all ongoing trials.