The ways in which infectious diseases are transmitted are linked to the type of disease, for example, an airborne disease can be spread through indirect contact whereas something like HIV is transmitted directly through sexual contact. Factors that allow the spread of disease through both direct and indirect contact are food, water, soiled objects, sexual intercourse, skin or mucous membrane. These allow you to spread diseases from human to human and animal to human.
Infectious diseases are caused by microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, or parasites. How these diseases are transferred are through direct contact from human to human. For example, HIV is transmitted from person to person via bodily fluids. It cannot just be spread by touch or close proximity but require body fluids to enter the person. Ways it can be transferred is through sexual intercourse as unprotected sex allows an infected person to spread the virus directly through the transfer of sexual fluids. Those who already have STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) are at a higher risk of contracting HIV. Another method on how this virus could be spread is through blood transfusion. For instance, a child of an HIV positive mother can contract the virus during the pregnancy, labour or through breastfeeding.
Zoonotic diseases are transmitted between animals and humans. An example of a disease which is spread by an animal to humans is rabies. Animals which can carry this disease are cats, dog or wild animals like foxes, bats and racoons. The rabies virus can be transferred from an infected animal biting a person or through infected saliva. The salvia containing the virus could enter into the human body through open wounds or any mucous membranes like the eyes, nose mouth. Wounds around the neck or head can allow the virus to travel quickly and easily to the brain. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome is a rat-borne disease which is can be transmitted through direct contact with a rat, its faeces and urine. Similarly, lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV) is a virus which is acquired through contact with mice droppings or urine. It can also be transferred through breathing contaminated dust.
Infectious diseases can be spread indirectly through the air or through other mechanisms. Some zoonotic infections are transmitted by vectors such as insects, particularly those that suck blood. These include examples like fleas, mosquitos, lice and ticks. The way in which these insects become infected is when they feed on infected hosts, like birds, animals, and humans. An example is Malaria which is transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes. This mosquito feeds on an infected host which carries the Plasmodium parasite. It then undergoes a cycle of reproduction where the parasite migrates to the mosquito’s saliva gland. The way in which it transfers the parasite into humans is when the mosquito bites for a blood meal. The parasite is then able to escape into the bloodstream spreading the infection. This is the way in which malaria is transferred from vectors to humans.
Infections can be transmitted by touching surfaces and objects. This is because droplets during coughing and sneezing fall on to surfaces like doorknob and tabletops spreading germs. A common infection is Tuberculosis which is an airborne disease. It is spread when an infected person sneezes or coughs, releasing infectious droplets into the air. The droplets fall on the ground, surfaces and objects. This is easily transmitted to those who are in close proximity. If someone was to touch this surface the disease will be transferred through mucous membranes like the mouth allowing the bacteria to go inside the body infecting the individual allowing the spread of disease.
Infectious diseases can be transmitted via contaminated food and water. For example, the infection salmonellosis is caused by a bacteria called salmonella. This is found in the intestinal tract of animals. The way this is transmitted is through foods that have been contaminated by animal faeces. Commonly infected foods include raw meat, poultry and seafood. Faeces may get onto raw meat and poultry during the butchering process. Some fresh produce may be washed with water contaminated with salmonella. The consumption of this food leads to the spread of salmonella.
Diseases can be prevented from spreading through various techniques and methods like the use of prophylaxis like antibiotics, antimalarial or antiviral to kill the strain of bacteria or virus causing the disease so that it cannot progresses and spread. To keep an individual safe whilst carry out certain procedures the use personal protective equipment like gloves or a biohazard suit will be at use so that the disease cannot spread to other people as well as prevent the spread of bacteria from the surroundings. Carrying out safe behaviors like washing hand can also prevent the spread of disease as it kills the unwanted bacteria. Living in certain environments that have exposure to lots of chemical spray can also encourage the spread of disease.
Antibiotics are not just given to treat bacterial infections but to also prevent them from occurring. These are referred to as antibiotic prophylaxis. These are used when having surgery on a certain part of the body which can be at high risk of getting an infection. For example, it’s used when having joint replacement surgery, eye surgery or even pacemaker surgery. Those who have immune deficiency disorders, diabetes or with infections are at a higher risk of developing an infection after a surgery which is why they are given prophylaxis. They can also be used for people who face recurring infection like genital herpes, rheumatic fever. Using this method to prevent the spread of disease reduces the number of post-operative infections like an abdominal wound and vaginal infections. The benefits are that a single dose of prophylaxis is equivalent to multiple doses and therefore you are not required to be taking several antibiotics. Using prophylaxis helps prevent the cause of infectious diseases which is better than having to treat them with several antibiotics. The disadvantages are they are administered to the whole population which increases the risk of antibiotic resistance. Although they are very effective they can also cause side effects like pain and tenderness because they are administered intravenously.
Carrying out certain behaviour like washing hand prevents the spread of gastrointestinal infections like salmonella but also respiratory infections like the influenza flu. These types of disease can cause lots of harm to those who have a weak immune system like children and the elderly. This is why people are advised to wash their hands before eating, preparing food and after using the toilet. Washing hands is a really effective method in preventing the spread of disease. Those who have the influenza flu release droplets into the air whilst coughing, sneezing or talking which fall on the ground and those in close proximity can get infected. Germs are also spread when the infected individual touches objects and surfaces like doorknobs, handrails and table tops and have not washed there hand. This allows the spread of disease as other people then touch these objects and without realising touch there mouth, nose and eyes which allows the bacteria to get into the body through mucous membranes. The benefits of washing hands are that it kills any bacteria lying on the skin which prevents the spread of disease through indirect contact like touching of surfaces/objects. It’s a cheap and affordable method and has no side effects. It reduces the spread of infections which means that there is no need for the overuse of antibiotics and can help prevent antibiotic resistance. The weaknesses are that people can have irritation from using certain hand wash or soap which can lead to symptoms like a rash, redness, and swelling.
Personal protective equipment is referred to as PPE which is equipment used to reduce exposure to hazards. For communicable disease exposure, PPE is used to prevent contact with dangerous substances. It’s the main part of infection control and prevention measures that shield workers from exposure to body fluids, blood, and other infectious materials. Examples of PPE are gloves and biohazard suits that accommodate physical barriers which stops the skin, hands, eyes, nose, and mouth from coming in contact with infectious agents. For example, disposable gloves are worn during direct contact with blood, mucous membranes, bodily fluids also any other potentially infectious material. These gloves are available in different types of material like latex, vinyl, and nitrile materials. Vinyl gloves are used for brief patient contact whereas nitrile gloves provide stronger protection for those who require more manual dexterity. The advantages of using this PPE are that it doesn’t just protect the patient against disease but also workers against any health and safety risks. The disadvantages are that they can restrict movement and need to be handled with properly because gloves are fragile and if they rip whilst directly in contact with infectious substances this will easily allow the spread of disease. Another disadvantage is that they can cause irritation and allergies due to the material of the glove or the donning powder used. Overall it’s an effective method to reduce exposure to hazards when administrating processes as it creates a barrier between your hand and the bacteria. This reduces your chances of getting in contact with harmful bacteria causing disease.
Ionisation departs people with a contagious disease away from those who are not sick. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of those who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they were sick. It also includes those who haven’t yet faced any symptoms. Before antibiotics were created quarantine was one of the ways in which they prevented people from spreading infectious diseases like Ebola. The outbreak of Ebola meant that people had been quarantined up to 21 days until they found out that they are not infected to minimise the risk of spreading. Patients had to remain in medical isolation against certain barriers until he or she is not infective. Those who are not showing any symptoms also had to be quarantined up to one full incubation period. The benefits of quarantine are that you’re able to neutralise any disease preventing it from spreading elsewhere. It’s an effective way to prevent the spread of disease as people around do not get affected as well as those who are infected are kept away in a secure place where the disease cannot progress. Quarantine means that keeping patients secluded from the public either in health care facilities or in the comfort of their own home, the disadvantages of this are that the period of isolation can lead to people feeling very depressed, alone, face anxiety and can have an emotional breakdown.
Vaccination programs are there to provide people with the vaccines against specific diseases. Their aim is to use immunisation to prevent the spreading of harmful diseases. How this program works is that the NHS provides a scheduled vaccination for vulnerable people like children and the elderly. This is because they tend to have a weaker immune system and can easily catch a disease. People who are at risk of exposure to diseases are also offered these vaccinations however they must pay for them. For children, these vaccines are usually scheduled during the first year of their birth and for elderly people, it’s done when they are 65 and over. These programs include lots of injections like In schools, teenage girls are given a human papillomavirus vaccine to protect them from getting cervical cancer. It’s very important that children are vaccinated because if not they can spread the disease to other children who may even be too young to be vaccinated against like transplant recipients. They provide live attenuated vaccine against diseases like MMR. What it does is that the attenuated vaccine reduces the virulence of the pathogen but also keeps it live so that if you were to come in contact with this disease the immune system will recognise the antigens and be able to fight off the disease using white blood cells. The problems with vaccines are that they tend to cause common side effects like swelling and redness in the area in which it was injected. Headaches and fatigue are also very common however these last for a short period of time. Overall this is a very effective method in preventing the spread of disease and is known as the best defence system. The infectious agents are altered therefore aren’t harmful to the body. Lastly vaccinating a high percentage of people means that it can stop the spread of disease within a community achieving herd immunity. The benefits of this are that it also keep those who cannot be vaccinated against safe as the majority of the population is vaccinated and cannot spread disease.
WaterAid is an international organisation which was introduced by the UK water industry on the 21st July 1981 as a charitable trust. They work in partnership with local organisations in 37 countries like Africa, Central America, and Asia to help poorer communities build a sustainable water supply. They work by influencing water and sanitation policies by the government by providing hygiene education sessions to help communities understand the importance of good hygiene practices like handwashing. They provide individuals with information in order to educate them about health and safety practices so that they want to improve their water and toilet facilities. Their main goal is to help people access a safe and reliable supply of water so have developed technology like the rope pump which is easy to use and allows access to clean water. WaterAid helps communities to build a composting toilet as this way people are able to release waste into certain places rather than have it lying around which promotes the spread of bacterial/infectious diseases.
This campaign works locally, nationally, and internationally to influence and raise awareness about water, toilets and improved hygiene to prevent the spread of water-related disease. For instance, cholera which is a water-borne disease caused by drinking water containing infectious viruses or bacteria, which often comes from human or animal waste. The bacteria which causes cholera tends to live in water but can also exist as groups of biofilms which cover the surface of the water, plants, stones, and similar items. Toxic strains of cholera bacteria produce a poison which causes diarrhoea in humans. This is why they educate poorer communities about the importance of toilets as many children around the world die from severe diarrhoea so this organisation helps by providing toilets to reduce the number of deaths.
The strengths of this organisation are that it helps to reduce the spread of water-borne diseases like cholera, salmonella, genuine worm disease, typhoid and dysentery. Most people around the world die from a water-related disease which is why they are targeting diarrheal diseases so that they can reduce the number of deaths around the world. Another benefit is that it allows people to contribute and help out by donating the minimum of £2 month or a one of £15. This way they can get people around the world to help out so they can ultimately help to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Another strength is that they have carried out a strategic approach by working along with other communities, this way they can make a bigger change.