The Spread of Infectious Diseases

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Infectious diseases are one of the leading causes of death worldwide, but they can be difficult to prevent as they can adapt and change very quickly.

Not only are new viruses appearing daily, but some of the old viruses are getting smarter and morphing. Your skin acts as a natural barrier against infections, but some viruses have found different paths to get into your body and can cause a serious spread of infectious diseases.

“Super Bugs” have also learned how to produce compounds that can make our current antibiotic defenses useless against them. Infectious diseases are caused by types of bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi around us.

It’s important to understand how these diseases are transmitted. If you understand the transmission process, you can use this knowledge to protect yourself and help prevent the spread of illnesses.

Prevent the Spread of Infectious Diseases

prevent the spread of infectious diseases

What are infectious diseases?

Infectious diseases are caused by microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites and can spread between individuals and/or animals. Infectious diseases are transmitted from person to person by direct or indirect contact. Certain types of microorganisms can cause infectious diseases. Basically, they can be caught and spread very easily and should be treated with concern.

What's the Difference Between Infectious and Contagious?

An infectious disease is basically an infection in the body from a microorganism entering through an exterior source. For bacteria or fungi, this means dividing and growing new cells at a very fast rate. On the other hand, viruses are similar to infections but have an extra layer of attack through entering the cells and taking over their control centers.

This allows them to multiply and spread quickly, often before being detected.

 Main Types of Infectious Diseases:

Viruses

  • Viruses are tiny infectious agents that can only replicate in the living cells of other organisms, without a host, they will die. They can infect anything from animals, plants, and bacteria.
  • Viruses can be spread in many ways including cross-fertilization from insects and plants. Animal to an animal, or even animal to human through blood-sucking insects, mainly mosquitoes. One of the major causes is not washing your hands after exposure to the outdoors. Un-safe sex or contact with infected blood can also help the spread of viruses.

Fungi

  • When we think of fungi, often we think of mushrooms, which are typically safe and edible (depending on the species) most fungi are harmless to humans. However, some fungi can be infectious and can lead to severe diseases.
  • Fungi are reproduced by releasing spores. These can often be picked up by inhalation, or ingestion. Fungal infections typically affect the lungs or skin.

Bacteria

  • Bacteria are single-celled microorganisms and can be found everywhere, some are harmless, while others can cause some serious damage. Infectious bacteria can breed, divide, multiply and spread in the body, which can lead to infectious disease.
  • Bacteria are spread in many ways; by touching an unclean surface, or contact with contaminated bodily fluids. However, the most common cause is through coughing and sneezing.

Parasites

  • Parasites are organisms that live in or on another organism and survive by getting nutrients through their host. These can be found in many places in the body, for example in the blood, brain, liver, and digestive system.
  • Parasites enter the body by biting insects or are ingested with contaminated water or food.

Prevention Methods

The easiest way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases is to not pick up germs at all. Unfortunately, this is quite impossible to avoid in public. Keeping germs at bay is an easier solution, and this can be done by taking precautions. Preventing infection before it begins to spread is crucial, and avoid spreading it to others at all costs. There are global methods of detection and prevention set in place to stop the spread of infectious diseases.

But you can personally take steps to prevent these diseases:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Cover your mouth when coughing
  • Wash and prepare food properly
  • Practice safe sex
  • Travel smart
  • Avoid insect bites
  • Live a healthy lifestyle
  • Use caution with wild animals
  • Stay up to date on vaccinations
  • Keep your pet’s vaccinations up to date

Future Problems and Funding

Within the next 100 years, the world's population is expected to rise above 11 billion, creating a rise in food demand globally. The increase in population and demand for food will ultimately, give rise to new types of human infectious diseases.

Many researchers believe that these will be "two of the most formidable ecological and public health challenges of the 21st century." 

Developing countries are at a greater risk for infectious diseases and are commonly the most impacted. This will only increase as populations and food scarcities rise.

Lack of funding and research will only propel this problem further. However, the same can be said for most countries. Lack of financial resources, training, and proper equipment present constant challenges to scientists globally. It should also be mentioned that social, and political constraints play significant roles in further research funding in most countries also.

However, one of the main problems when it comes to research of these infectious diseases is the general lack of immediate concern. All these diseases have the potential to morph into a global pandemic at any moment. With the constant changing state of infectious disease, a pandemic can begin and spread extremely quickly, being prepared in the event of that situation will give us an advantage. Yet, little funding is received on the spread of infectious diseases because they are not viewed as immediate threats to public health.

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