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Communicable Diseases : Overview & How to prevent

Team AckoDec 22, 2022

The world recently witnessed one of the most significant outbreaks of a Communicable Disease, COVID-19. These types of diseases affect a large number of people, potentially leading to severe illness and death. Despite advances in medical technology and public health measures, such diseases can pose a threat to global health. Thus, it is necessary to gather and spread as much information about Communicable Diseases as possible. We have tried to do just the same in the following article. Take a look.

Communicable Disease Definition, Symptoms, causes, types & How to prevent

Contents

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What is meant by a Communicable Disease?

A Communicable Disease is a disease that can be caused by microorganisms, and it can spread from person to person through direct or indirect contact. Examples of Communicable Diseases include the flu, HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria. Communicable diseases can be prevented through vaccination, and some can be treated with medication. It is important to take steps to prevent the spread of Communicable Diseases, such as washing your hands regularly and avoiding close contact with infected people.

What are the signs and symptoms of Communicable Diseases?

The signs and symptoms of Communicable Diseases can vary depending on the specific disease. Some common symptoms include the following.

  • Fever

  • Cough

  • Difficulty in breathing

  • Fatigue

  • Body aches

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhoea

  • Rash

  • Painful sores on the skin

It is important to see a doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms so that they can determine the cause of your illness and provide appropriate treatment.

What are the causes of Communicable Diseases?

The following could be the causes of getting an infection from a Communicable Disease.

  1. When an infected person coughs or sneezes.

  2. By being in the proximity of an infected person.

  3. By touching objects or surfaces that have been contaminated with the pathogen.

  4. Consuming contaminated food or water.

  5. Through animal bites or bites from insects such as mosquitoes.

What are the different types of Communicable Diseases?

Here is a list of different types of Communicable Diseases.

  1. Bacterial infections: These are infections caused by bacteria, such as Pneumonia, tuberculosis, and syphilis.

  2. Viral infections: These are infections caused by viruses, such as the flu, HIV, and hepatitis.

  3. Fungal infections: These are infections caused by fungi, such as athlete's foot and thrush.

  4. Parasitic infections: These are infections caused by parasites, such as malaria and tapeworm.

  5. Prion infections: These are infections caused by misfolded proteins called Prions. These are common in the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

What are the treatment options for Communicable Diseases?

There are several treatment options for Communicable Diseases, depending on the specific disease and its severity. Some common treatment options include medications to kill the infectious agent, such as antibiotics for bacterial infections or antiviral drugs for viral infections. Other options include hospitalisation to receive supportive treatment, such as intravenous fluids and oxygen therapy. Additionally, your doctor will decide if you need isolation and quarantine. In some cases, vaccines may be available to prevent the spread of Communicable Diseases. It is important to consult a healthcare provider to determine the best treatment options for a particular Communicable Disease.

Which tests help in diagnosing Communicable Diseases?

There are several tests that can be used to help diagnose Communicable Diseases. Some of the most common tests are as follows.

  1. Blood tests: Blood tests can be used to detect the infectious agents or antibodies produced in response to an infection. This can help confirm the diagnosis of a Communicable Disease.

  2. Tissue samples: Samples of tissue from the infected area can be examined under a microscope to look for an infectious agent.

  3. Bacterial or viral cultures: In a bacterial culture, a sample of fluid or tissue from the infected area is placed on a special medium that promotes the growth of bacteria. The bacteria can then be identified and tested for susceptibility to antibiotics.

In a viral culture, a sample of fluid or tissue is placed in a cell culture, where it is allowed to replicate. The resulting virus can then be identified and tested for sensitivity to antiviral drugs. Both bacterial and viral cultures can provide important information about the specific infectious agent causing a Communicable Disease.

4.Imaging tests: Imaging tests such as CT scans or X-rays can be used to produce detailed images, which can help diagnose a Communicable Disease.

5.Molecular diagnostic tests: These tests, such as PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests, can be used to accurately detect the infectious agents.

It is important to note that specific tests used to diagnose a Communicable Disease will depend on the type of infection and the symptoms the patient is experiencing. A doctor will typically order a combination of tests to confirm the diagnosis and begin treatment.

How to prevent Communicable Diseases

There are several ways to prevent the spread of Communicable Diseases. Here are a few tips that can help you avoid an infection.

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, especially after using the bathroom, before and after preparing food, and after coming into contact with people who are sick.

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are infected with a Communicable Disease.

  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough, and safely disposing of the tissue immediately.

  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, as these are common entry points for germs.

  • Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs, handles, and phones.

  • Getting vaccinated against Communicable Diseases, such as the flu and measles.

  • Avoiding sharing personal items, such as toothbrushes, razors, and towels, with others.

  • Avoiding consuming raw or undercooked meat, eggs, and dairy products, as these can be contaminated with bacteria.

  • Avoiding swimming in pools or lakes that may be contaminated with bacteria or parasites.

  • Avoiding travelling to areas where Communicable Diseases are common, if possible.

  • Seeking medical attention if you are experiencing symptoms of a Communicable Disease, such as fever, cough, or rash.

Risk factors of Communicable Diseases

Some of the risk factors for Communicable Diseases include the following.

  1. Close contact with an infected person Communicable diseases can be spread through direct contact with an infected person, such as through kissing, sexual contact, or sharing food or drinks.

  2. Poor hygiene Lack of proper hygiene, such as not washing your hands regularly, can increase the risk of Communicable Diseases.

  3. Unsafe water and food Consuming contaminated water or food can lead to the spread of Communicable Diseases, such as cholera and typhoid fever.

  4. Unsafe medical practices Using contaminated needles or syringes can spread diseases such as hepatitis B and C and HIV.

  5. Visiting areas with high rates of Communicable Diseases Travelling to areas where Communicable Diseases are common can increase the risk of infection.

  6. Compromised immune system People with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or cancer, are more susceptible to Communicable Diseases.

  7. Living in crowded or unsanitary conditions Communicable diseases can spread more easily in crowded or unsanitary conditions.

List of common Communicable Diseases in India

Many Communicable Diseases are common in India. Here is a list of such diseases.

  • Tuberculosis: Tuberculosis (TB) is a highly contagious bacterial infection that primarily affects the lungs. It is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

  • Malaria: Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease that is caused by the parasite Plasmodium. It is prevalent in many parts of India, particularly in rural areas.

  • HIV/AIDS: HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is a viral infection that attacks the immune system. If left untreated, it can progress to AIDS, which is the final stage of HIV infection.

  • Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B is a viral infection that affects the liver. It is spread through contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person.

  • Cholera: Cholera is an infection of the small intestine. The bacterium Vibrio cholerae causes this disease. It is spread through contaminated water or food and can cause severe diarrhoea and dehydration.

  • Typhoid: Typhoid is a bacterial infection that is spread through contaminated food or water. It can cause a high fever, headache, and abdominal pain.

  • Dengue: Dengue is a viral infection that is spread by mosquitoes. It can cause fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, and a rash. In severe cases, it can lead to dengue hemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.

  • Japanese encephalitis: Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection that is spread by mosquitoes. It primarily affects the central nervous system and can cause inflammation of the brain, leading to fever, headache, and seizures.

  • Leprosy: Leprosy is a chronic bacterial infection that primarily affects the skin, nerves, and mucous membranes. It is spread through contact with the respiratory secretions of an infected person.

Public health measures to control Communicable Diseases in India

The Government of India has implemented a number of public health measures to control the spread of Communicable Diseases in the country. Following are some of these measures.

  1. Implementing vaccination programs to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

  2. Providing access to clean water and sanitation facilities to reduce the risk of waterborne diseases.

  3. Conducting regular vector control activities to reduce the population of disease-carrying insects such as mosquitoes.

  4. Providing education and training to healthcare workers on the prevention, detection, and treatment of Communicable Diseases.

  5. Establishing surveillance systems to monitor the spread of Communicable Diseases and respond quickly to outbreaks.

  6. Implementing policies and regulations to control the sale and use of antibiotics and other medications to prevent the development of antibiotic resistance.

  7. Working with communities to raise awareness about the importance of hand washing, proper hygiene, and other preventive measures.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some common questions and answers about Communicable Diseases.

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Do x-rays help in diagnosing a Communicable Disease?

X-rays are a type of imaging test that uses radiation to produce detailed images (of the inside of the body). They are used to diagnose conditions like fractures, Pneumonia, etc. While they can help diagnose some conditions that are associated with Communicable Diseases like Tuberculosis, they are not effective at identifying the specific infectious agents that cause these diseases. 

Do CT scans help in diagnosing a Communicable Disease?

CT scans are typically not the first-line test used to diagnose Communicable Diseases. These scans may be used in addition to other diagnostic tests to provide more information about the condition and help with treatment.

Do Communicable Diseases have long-term effects?

Some Communicable Diseases can have long-term effects. For instance, the chickenpox virus can lead to Shingles which is a viral infection that causes rashes, in adulthood, and the Measles virus can lead to a condition called Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis (SSPE), which can cause severe brain damage. However, the majority of Communicable Diseases do not have any long-term effects.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on several secondary sources on the internet. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.

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