From your winter sniffles to notorious pneumonia, infectious diseases are one of the most common causes of ailments that haunt us. The culprits behind these diseases are microscopic but their size belies their immense potency. Giant strides in medical research have shed light on these pathogens and have paved the way for novel treatments and recovery protocols. A good number of infectious diseases can be mitigated therapeutically and pose a fraction of the threat they did a century back. However, viral diseases such as Ebola (EVD) still prove to be elusive. Moreover, newer strains of microorganisms that could pose a threat to humans are being discovered on a daily basis making the scope of infectious diseases quite vast.
What are infectious diseases?
Infectious diseases are diseases that can spread from person to person. Infectious diseases are caused by pathogens like bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.
Human-to-human transmission of these pathogens can happen in many ways.
This transmission occurs through direct physical contact with an infected person. This is one of the more common means of transmission.
This mode of transmission occurs due to contact with an object touched by an infected person. This object could be anything from objects in the patients’ bedrooms to medical equipment.
Large droplets expelled by the patient is the carrier of pathogens here. These droplets come from the patient’s respiratory tract during coughing or sneezing. Humans within a 1-meter radius of the patient are in danger of getting infected. These droplets could enter their nasal or oral mucosa.
Droplet particles can also facilitate transmission by indirect contact. The droplets expelled by the patient could land on objects. Some pathogens may then survive on these objects. Humans in contact with such objects are in danger of getting infected.
Some pathogens can rest on dust and other airborne particles. Such pathogens remain suspended in the air and can travel widely along with it. Humans in this path are in danger of inhaling the pathogen and getting infected.
Common vehicle transmission refers to the transmission through a polluted substance. This could be food, medication, intravenous fluid or shared equipment. Such modes of transmission pose a threat of a wide outbreak.
This mode of transmission refers to transmission by insects or animals.
Increase in Infectious Diseases
Infectious diseases are becoming more and more common. More than 30 new diseases have broken out in 20 years. The transmission of infectious diseases is also happening at rates hitherto unheard of. Globalization, the rise in the human population, and climate changes are all factors the same. Infectious diseases dominate WHO’s list of health threats. So it’s up to us to be aware and be on the lookout for the symptoms of these diseases.
Symptoms of Infectious Diseases
The symptoms of infectious diseases vary based on the disease. But some common symptoms you can keep an eye out for are: