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Germs can spread through:
- the air as small droplets (droplet spread) or tiny aerosol particles (airborne spread)
- contact with faeces (poo) and then with the mouth (faeco-oral spread)
- contact with the skin or mucus membranes (the thin moist lining of many parts of the body such as the nose, mouth, throat and genitals) (contact spread)
- blood or other body fluids (for example, urine, saliva, breastmilk, semen and vaginal secretions).
Germs can spread:
- directly from person to person or
- indirectly from an infected person to the environment (for example toys, door handles, bench tops, bedding and toilets) and then to another person who comes in contact with the contaminated environmental source.
Germs can enter the body through the:
- respiratory tract
- broken skin.
Some infections can be spread in several different ways.
There are other ways of describing how germs are spread that are commonly used. Germs can be spread through sexual contact, which is usually through semen and vaginal secretions (body fluids), but can also occur through contact with mucus membranes. Germs can spread through food or water. Many but not all the germs spread in this way are through contact with faeces and then with the mouth (faeco-oral). Germs can also spread from a mother to her unborn child, usually though blood (body fluids) but also through contact with skin or mucous membranes during delivery.
Adapted from National Health and Medical Research Council - Staying Healthy: preventing infectious disease in early childhood education and care services, 5th Edition 2012.
Spread through the air by droplets
Some infections are spread when an infected person talks, coughs or sneezes small droplets containing infectious agents into the air. Due to their size, these droplets in the air travel only a short distance (around a metre) from the infected person before falling. The droplets in the air may be breathed in by those nearby. Spread can also occur by touching the nose or mouth with droplet contaminated hands.
Examples of droplet spread diseases:
Spread through the air by aerosol
Some infections are spread when an infected person talks, breathes, coughs or sneezes tiny particles containing infectious agents into the air. These are called small particle aerosols. Due to their tiny size, small particle aerosols can travel long distances on air currents and remain suspended in the air for minutes to hours. These small particle aerosols may be breathed in by another person.
Examples of airborne spread diseases:
Spread through faeces and then the mouth (faecal-oral spread)
Some infections are spread when microscopic amounts of faeces (poo) from an infected person with symptoms or an infected person without symptoms (a carrier) are taken in by another person by mouth. The faeces may be passed:
- directly from soiled hands to the mouth
- indirectly by way of objects, surfaces, food or water soiled with faeces.
Examples of diseases spread from faeces:
- Campylobacter infection
- Cryptosporidium infection
- Giardia infection
- hand, foot and mouth disease
- hepatitis A
- meningitis (viral)
- rotavirus infection
- Salmonella infection
- Shigella infection
- viral gastroenteritis
- Yersinia infection.
Some infections are spread directly when skin or mucous membrane (the thin moist lining of many parts of the body such as the nose, mouth, throat and genitals) comes into contact with the skin or mucous membrane of another person. Infections are spread indirectly when skin or mucous membrane comes in contact with contaminated objects or surfaces.
Examples of diseases spread by skin or mucous membrane contact:
- cold sores (herpes simplex infection)
- hand, foot and mouth disease
- head lice
- molluscum contagiosum
- school sores (impetigo)
- Staphylococcus aureus infection
Spread through blood or other body fluids
Some infections are spread when blood or other body fluids (for example for example, urine, saliva, breastmilk, semen and vaginal secretions) from an infected person comes into contact with:
- the mucous membranes (the thin moist lining of many parts of the body such as the nose, mouth, throat and genitals), such as through kissing, breast-feeding or sexual contact or
- the bloodstream of an uninfected person, such as through a needle stick injury or a break in the skin.
Examples of diseases spread through blood or other body fluids:
- hepatitis B - blood, saliva, semen and vaginal fluids
- hepatitis C - blood
- human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection - blood, semen and vaginal fluids, breastmilk
- cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection - saliva, semen and vaginal fluids, urine, etc.
- glandular fever - saliva
Other ways of describing how infectious diseases arespread
Spread through sexual contact (sexually transmitted infections)
These infections are most commonly transmitted by sexual contact. Sexual contact means:
- genital to genital
- oral to genital
- genital to anal.
Examples of sexually transmitted infections:
- Chlamydia infection
- genital herpes
- genital warts
- hepatitis B
- human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection
- non-specific urethritis (NSU)
- pubic lice (crabs)
Spread through food or water
These diseases result from ingestion of water or a wide variety of foods contaminated with disease-causing germs or their toxins. Often these infections are also spread by the faecal-oral route.
Examples of food or waterborne diseases:
- Campylobacter infection
- Cryptosporidium infection
- haemolytic uraemic syndrome
- Listeria infection
- Salmonella infection
- Shigella infection
- typhoid and paratyphoid
- Yersinia infection.
Spread from a mother to her unborn child
Some infections can be spread through the placenta from a mother to her unborn child or during delivery, or both.
Examples of diseases spread from a mother to child in this way:
Diseases where person-to-person spread occurs rarely, if ever
Some infectious diseases are almost never spread by contact with an infected person. These diseases are usually spread by contact with an environmental source such as animals, insects, water or soil.
Examples of diseases spread by contact with animals:
Examples of diseases spread by insects, and in the examples listed below, specifically by mosquitoes:
Examples of diseases spread by contact with water or soil:
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the air as small droplets (droplet spread) or tiny aerosol particles (airborne spread) contact with faeces (poo) and then with the mouth (faeco-oral spread) contact with the skin or mucus membranes (the thin moist lining of many parts of the body such as the nose, mouth, throat and genitals) (contact spread)What are the 4 ways infectious disease can spread? ›
- the air as droplets or aerosol particles.
- faecal-oral spread.
- blood or other body fluids.
- skin or mucous membrane contact.
- sexual contact.
Infectious diseases commonly spread through the direct transfer of bacteria, viruses or other germs from one person to another. This can happen when an individual with the bacterium or virus touches, kisses, or coughs or sneezes on someone who isn't infected.What are 3 ways communicable diseases can be spread? ›
A communicable disease is one that is spread from one person to another through a variety of ways that include: contact with blood and bodily fluids; breathing in an airborne virus; or by being bitten by an insect.What are the 6 main ways infectious disease transmit? ›
- Direct. Direct contact. Droplet spread.
- Indirect. Airborne. Vehicleborne. Vectorborne (mechanical or biologic)
- Common cold.
- The flu (influenza).
- Stomach flu (gastroenteritis).
- Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
Infectious diseases can be caused by several different classes of pathogenic organisms (commonly called germs). These are viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and fungi. Almost all of these organisms are microscopic in size and are often referred to as microbes or microorganisms.What are the 4 types of infectious diseases? ›
COVID-19 is a viral disease, just one of the four main types of infectious diseases. The others include bacterial, fungal, and parasitic—each different in how they spread and how they affect the body.What are the 4 most common infectious diseases? ›
- Chlamydia. 1/15. This sexually transmitted disease affects men and women. ...
- Influenza A and B. 2/15. Sudden fever and chills, muscle aches, headache, tiredness, sore throat, congestion. ...
- Staph. 3/15. ...
- E. Coli. ...
- Herpes Simplex 1. 5/15. ...
- Herpes Simplex 2. 6/15. ...
- Shigellosis. 7/15. ...
- Syphilis. 8/15.
Direct contact spread
Some infections can be spread by direct contact with the infected area to another person's body, or via contact with a contaminated surface. This is the most common route of cross-infection from one person to another (transmission of infection).
Some — but not all — infectious diseases spread directly from one person to another. Infectious diseases that spread from person to person are said to be contagious. Some infections spread to people from an animal or insect, but are not contagious from another human.What are the 3 major components in spreading infectious diseases? ›
- Source: Places where infectious agents (germs) live (e.g., sinks, surfaces, human skin)
- Susceptible Person with a way for germs to enter the body.
- Transmission: a way germs are moved to the susceptible person.
Specific factors precipitating disease emergence can be identified in virtually all cases. These include ecological, environmental, or demographic factors that place people at increased contact with a previously unfamiliar microbe or its natural host or promote dissemination.What are at least 3 ways to prevent spreading infectious diseases? ›
- Immunise against infectious diseases.
- Wash and dry your hands regularly and well.
- Stay at home if you are sick.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Clean surfaces regularly.
- Ventilate your home.
Pathogens can be transmitted a few ways depending on the type. They can be spread through skin contact, bodily fluids, airborne particles, contact with feces, and touching a surface touched by an infected person.What are the 10 most common infectious diseases? ›
- Common cold.
- E. coli.
- Infectious mononucleosis.
- Influenza (flu)
- Fever (this is sometimes the only sign of an infection).
- Chills and sweats.
- Change in cough or a new cough.
- Sore throat or new mouth sore.
- Shortness of breath.
- Nasal congestion.
- Stiff neck.
- Burning or pain with urination.
Emerging diseases include HIV infections, SARS, Lyme disease, Escherichia coli O157:H7 (E. coli), hantavirus, dengue fever, West Nile virus, and the Zika virus. Reemerging diseases are diseases that reappear after they have been on a significant decline.What are the top 3 infectious diseases? ›
The world's deadliest infections, including Tuberculosis, Malaria and HIV/AIDS, have been considered as the "Big Three" infectious diseases (BTIDs). With leading infections and deaths every year, the BTIDs have been recognized as the world's greatest pandemics.What are 10 types of diseases? ›
- Heart disease. Heart disease is a general term for various conditions affecting the heart. ...
- Urinary tract infections. ...
- Alzheimer's Disease. ...
- Sexually transmitted diseases. ...
- Sore throat. ...
- Common cold. ...
- Bronchitis. ...
- Mental Health conditions.
Infectious diseases are caused by pathogens, which include bacteria, fungi, protozoa, worms, viruses, and even infectious proteins called prions.What is an infectious disease 10 examples? ›
- Campylobacter Infection.
- Hepatitis A.
- Hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis C.
- Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Influenza (Flu)
- Meningococcal Disease.
Infections are common. From ear infections and the flu to COVID-19, chances are we all have had at least one at some point. Viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections can all trigger sepsis.How can infection be prevented? ›
- Hand hygiene.
- Respiratory and cough hygiene.
- Toileting and sanitation.
- Personal protective equipment.
- Safe management of the environment.
- Safe management of linen and soft furnishings.
- Safe management of blood and bodily fluids.
Hand hygiene. Use of personal protective equipment (e.g., gloves, masks, eyewear). Respiratory hygiene / cough etiquette.What are the 4 types of disease prevention? ›
These preventive stages are primordial prevention, primary prevention, secondary prevention, and tertiary prevention.What are 3 examples of disease prevention? ›
- Eat Healthy. Eating healthy helps prevent, delay, and manage heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases. ...
- Get Regular Physical Activity. ...
- Avoid Drinking Too Much Alcohol. ...
- Get Screened. ...
- Take Care of Your Teeth. ...
- Get Enough Sleep.
Contact transmission is the most common form of transmitting diseases and virus. There are two types of contact transmission: direct and indirect. Direct contact transmission occurs when there is physical contact between an infected person and a susceptible person.What are the three 3 most common routes of transmission for infectious diseases? ›
- Airborne transmission. Airborne transmission occurs when infectious agents are carried by dust suspended in the air. ...
- Respiratory (droplet) transmission. ...
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) ...
- Animal or insect transmission. ...
- Food or water transmission. ...
- Health care transmission.
There needs to be a reservoir or source that allows the pathogen to survive and even multiply, such as blood. There must be a mode of transmission from source to host. There must be an entrance through which the pathogen enters the host. The host must be susceptible to that pathogen, as opposed to being immune to it.
- Contact precautions: ...
- Bloodborne precautions: ...
- Droplet precautions: ...
- Airborne precautions:
This is the most important and frequent mode of transmission in the health care setting. Organisms are transferred through direct contact between an infected or colonized patient and a susceptible health care worker or another person.
Disease can occur at any body site and can be caused by the organism itself or by the body's response to its presence. Bacteria are transmitted to humans through air, water, food, or living vectors. The principal modes of transmission of bacterial infection are contact, airborne, droplet, vectors, and vehicular.