Types, Spread, Symptoms and Prevention of Infectious Diseases

Diseases are disorders that affect one or more parts of the body by interfering with bodily functions. Diseases can affect living organisms as a result of infectious or non-infectious causes.

Non-infectious causes are usually due to internal factors or genetic irregularities, whereas infectious diseases are caused by microorganisms that cause infection.

What Exactly are Infectious Diseases?

Infectious diseases are diseases caused by pathogenic microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, protozoa, fungi, and other parasites. Animals, humans, insects, and other agents can all transmit these infectious diseases.

Infectious agents are all around us, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can be classified based on some shared characteristics. Fungi, bacteria, and viruses are examples of single-celled organisms that cause diseases. Worms and other multicellular organisms are also known to cause disease.

These infections occur when an organism invades the body cells, releases toxins, and causes a variety of reactions in the host tissues.

Examples of Infectious Diseases 

A few infectious diseases are listed below:

Meningitis

Diphtheria

Melioidosis

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis C

Tuberculosis

Yellow Fever

Typhoid Fever

Polio

Types of Infectious Disease

Different pathogens cause different types of infectious diseases. These illnesses are listed below:

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Infections caused by viruses (Viral Infections)

There are millions of viruses on the planet. They are the primary cause of viral infections such as the common cold and influenza.

The virus enters a host’s body and attaches itself to a cell, where it releases its genetic material. The virus multiplies as the cell replicates. The cell lyses and more viruses are released, infecting new cells.

Few viruses alter the function of cells rather than killing them. Human Papillomavirus and Epstein-Barr Virus, for example, cause uncontrolled cell replication, which leads to cancer.

Infections caused by bacteria (Bacterial Infections)

Bacteria can survive in any environment, including extreme heat and cold, as well as radioactive waste. There are many different bacterial strains, some of which are pathogenic.

Diseases are caused by bad bacteria, while good bacteria destroy bad bacteria and prevent disease. Bacterial infections cause diseases such as cholera, tuberculosis, diphtheria, and typhoid. Antibiotics can treat them, but some bacteria become antibiotic-resistant and cannot be treated.

Infections caused by fungi (Fungal Infections)

A fungus uses an enzyme to decompose and absorb organic material. Many fungal infections appear in the skin’s upper layers, with some penetrating deeper layers. Inhaling fungal spores can result in fungal infections that affect the entire body.

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Prion Diseases

Prion is a protein that does not contain any genetic material. If the prion is folded incorrectly, it disrupts the structure of normal proteins, resulting in deadly diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Such diseases are usually fatal and spread quickly. They do not replicate in the host, but they do cause abnormal behavior in body cells.

More Examples of Infections

Infectious diseases are also caused by Protozoa, Helminths, and Ectoparasites. Protozoa are spread through feces contact. Protozoa causes amoebic dysentery.

Helminths are flatworms and roundworms that cause human infections.

Mites, lice, ticks, and other ectoparasites attach to the skin and cause infections.

Symptoms of Infectious Diseases

The symptoms of infectious diseases vary depending on the location and type of pathogen involved.

Viruses specifically target cells. The rabies virus, for example, affects the nervous system. Some viruses cause warts, runny noses, muscle aches, and other symptoms.

A bacterial infection will cause symptoms such as fever, swelling, heat, pain, swelling of the lymph glands, and so on.

Rashes on the skin are symptoms of fungal infections.

Prion diseases cause brain damage, memory loss, and cognitive challenges.

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How are Infectious Diseases Spread?

Infectious diseases are transmitted in the following ways:

When an infected person sneezes or coughs, the pathogens of diseases such as influenza, the common cold, and others may spread into the air and infect others in the vicinity.

Touching an infected person or their bodily fluids such as saliva, blood, sweat, urine, and so on can spread infections such as chickenpox and measles to a healthy person.

Touching objects or areas touched by an infected person can spread the infection and cause disease to a non-infected person.

Prevention of Infectious Diseases

Here are some practical measures that can be taken to prevent infection:

Wash your hands properly.

Use of antibiotics during vaccination.

Keeping proper hygiene.

When you are sick, avoid traveling or going to work.

Avoid sharing used personal items such as a razor, glass, toothbrush, comb, and so on.

Keeping your kitchen clean by washing all used utensils and the cooking area before and after each meal.

When visiting hospitals, extra precautions should be taken, such as wearing a mask and using hand sanitizer.