Home Important What is an infectious disease? Transmission, Diseases of Concern, Signs and Symptoms...

What is an infectious disease? Transmission, Diseases of Concern, Signs and Symptoms etc.


infectious disease

Illnesses caused by pathogens, micro-organisms such as bacteria or viruses, that can be transmitted.

Methods of Transmission

  • Direct contact:- Which occurs through contact with bodily fluids, contact through open wounds or exposed tissues, or contact with mucous membranes of the mouth, eyes or nose.
  • Indirect contact:- Through airborne pathogens spread by tiny droplet sprayed during breathing, coughing or sneezing, or by way of contaminated objects, such as needles.

Diseases of Concern

  • Although there are many infectious diseases, Three that is of greatest concern because they are life-threatening are:- hepatitis(a, b, c, d & e), TB & aids.

Hepatitis (A, B, C, D &E)

  • Causes inflammation of the liver;
  • Contracted through blood or bodily fluids;
  • No cure can be deadly;
  • Can live in dried blood for days.
  • An effective vaccine is available.

Tuberculosis (TB)

  • Infection found in the lungs & other tissues;
  • Highly contagious- can be spread through the air;
  • Take respiratory precautions

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

  • Aids is named for a set of conditions that result when the immune system has been attacked by the HIV virus and rendered unable to combat infection adequately.
  • Poses less risk than hepatitis or TB, as the virus does not survive well outside the human body.
  • Transmission requires contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person.

There are several other infectious diseases that you may be exposed to, including:-

  • Influenza
  • Cholera
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STD)
  • Common cold
  • Dengue
  • Typhoid
  • Meningitis

Signs and Symptoms

  • Patients contaminated with an infectious disease may not present with signs or symptoms.
  • A major source of infectious transmission is the “chronic carrier”.
  • Such a person can carry an infection for years without signs or symptoms.

When Signs And Symptoms Of Infectious Diseases Do Appear, They May Include:-

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • The yellowish coloration of the skin and whites of the eyes
  • Headache, chest or abdominal pain
  • Coughing, shortness of breath
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss

Body Substance Isolation

  • A strict form of infection control based on the premise that blood and bodily fluids are infectious
  • Body substance isolation (BSI) consists of a combination of equipment & procedures that protect you from the bodily fluids of the patient
  • With BSI precautions, it is possible to take care of patients safely, including those with infectious diseases.
  • BSI precautions fall under three categories:-

1. Hand washing: the single most important thing you can do to prevent the spread of infection (even if wearing gloves)

2.Cleaning equipment: cleaning, disinfecting & sterilizing are related terms.

  • Cleaning is simply washing an object with soap & water
  • Disinfecting is cleaning plus using a chemical like alcohol or bleach to kill most of the pathogens
  • Sterilizing is a process in which a chemical or another process ( such as superheated steam) is used to kill all microorganisms on the object

3. Using personal protective equipment (PPE):-

  • You must always use PPE to protect against infection.
  • This will keep you free from coming into contact with blood & other bodily fluids.
  • PPE includes eye protection, gloves, gown & mask.

Personal Protective Equipment

The 5 most common components of PPE are:-

  1. Latex gloves
  2. Personal mask
  3. Eye protection
  4. Gown
  5. CPR mask


  • The following immunizations are recommended for People:-
    • Tetanus prophylaxis (every 10 years)
    • Hepatitis-a vaccine
    • Hepatitis-b vaccine
    • Influenza vaccine (every year)
    • Polio
    • Rubella ( German measles)
    • Measles
    • Mumps



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