Infectious diseases are caused by pathogens that enter the body. These pathogens triggers for infections to develop. There are many causes of infectious disease and they can be found all over the world. They are highly contagious, which means that they can spread rapidly through unhygienic practices and conditions from people to people or from animals to humans, too.
A wide range of pathogens can cause infectious diseases such as bacteria, viruses, prions, fungi and protozoan. We are familiar with the four pathogens but prions may be something new. Prions (PREE-ons) are defined as infectious agents made up of protein and they have the ability of reproducing in a misfolded form and become infectious.
There are several ways of getting infectious diseases and transmitting them to others. Symptoms may also vary from one disease to another. Infectious disease can be classified as viral, fungal, bacterial and even protozoan life.
Treating infectious diseases requires that your health provider or doctor should eliminate all sources of infections. They must also identify ways to repair damage caused to your body by such infection. Many of these diseases make the patients more susceptible to other secondary infections. Because of the weakened immune system, other organisms can enter the body and make you sicker. This results to another problem or at worse, serious complications that can threaten your life.
The branch of study responsible in dealing with infectious diseases is called epidemiology. The epidemiologist’s job is to determine the actual origin or source of the infection so he can develop an innovative or new treatment or drugs. His work also includes identifying outbreaks that may lead to epidemic. Many infectious diseases are also endemic, which means that they can occur on a regular basis.
Prevention of Infectious Diseases
To prevent the rapid spread of infectious diseases, maintaining basic hygienic practices is most important.
The practice of clean habits such as washing hands and feet regularly, drinking clean water and maintaining a clean habitat or surroundings is very important in the prevention of infectious diseases.
Secondary will be eliminating organisms causing the infections. Eliminating the vectors that can lead to zoonic spread of diseases will reduce the prevalence of infectious diseases. For example, the Bubonic plagued in Europe killed almost 25 million people. When the outbreak hit the islands of Hawaii in 1899, the islands of Hawaii specifically in Chinatown on Oahu, the Board of Health then immediately thought of how to stop the disease from spreading inland. Funny though, the plan of burning only the buildings in Chinatown where the source of disease (rodents) was suspected to dwell got out of their control. The result was burning down many of the buildings in Chinatown and leaving 4000 people homeless.
Some medicines can help relieve the symptoms. Infectious diseases caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi can be easily treated by many medications like antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral.
Medical screening and laboratory tests can help doctors to identify patients with infectious diseases.
Infectious diseases can also be fatal. HIV, malaria, diarrhea and tuberculosis are just few examples of diseases that have killed many people worldwide.
Here is a list of the recent news on infectious disease outbreaks worldwide in the last five years from the World Health Organization (WHO) website::
- Year 2009 – Ebola haemorrhagic fever , Yellow fever , Avian influenza,Ebola Reston, Meningococcal disease, Cholera, Swine influenza, Polio, Pandemic Influenza A(H1N1), Dengue fever
- Year 2010 – Pandemic Influenza A(H1N1), Avian influenza , Rift Valley fever, Meningococcal disease , Polio, Yellow fever , Suspected Acute Haemorrhagic Fever, Cholera, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) and Dengue
- Year 2011- Avian influenza, Yellow fever, Meningococcal disease, Outbreak of haemolytic uraemic syndrome, Poliomyelitis, Wild poliovirus
- Year 2012- Avian influenza, Yellow fever , Severe complications of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD), Meningococcal disease, Ebola, Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome , Cholera, Novel coronavirus infection, Dengue Fever, Marburg haemorrhagic fever
- Year 2013- Avian influenza, Poliovirus, Novel coronavirus infection , Human infection with influenza A(H7N9) virus, Wild poliovirus, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)
What can you conclude from the above list of disease outbreaks? The data show that there are still many infectious diseases that have been recurring and spreading worldwide. Because of these, more clinical research studies will be conducted in order to develop innovations in medical science so that infectious diseases can be easily detected and treated with minimal effort and time.