An infectious disease is a disease that injures or damages the host and causes impairment, and is the result of a pathogen that may include bacteria, virus, fungi, or parasites. An infectious disease can be transmitted by contact, or through air, water and food or through a vector, an organism that is not a cause of the disease but spreads the disease causing pathogen. Diseases that spread through contact are also called contagious or communicable diseases.
Infectious diseases such as malaria, small pox, influenza, plague, and typhoid have played havoc on populations globally. Millions of people have died due to these diseases in the past. These diseases continue to do damage in the under developed countries of Asia and Africa even today. Such pandemics have been the target of organizations such as WHO, Medicins San Frontieres, and Red Cross.
The development of vaccines has led to considerable reduction in deaths due to infectious diseases. Diseases such as Malaria and Small pox have been eliminated from certain regions of the world. However, stray incidents still occur and the medical fraternity continues its research on theses diseases to learn more about how they are transmitted and to see if the disease causing pathogens have mutated and become immune to the available remedies.
Great care and awareness is being created to tackle the spread of infectious diseases. The squalor and unhygienic conditions in most urban sprawls and the lack of basic hygiene in many under developed countries leads to an increase in the vectors that transmit these diseases. Awareness of disease causing pathogens and the way they are transmitted to populations has greatly aided people’s ability to control the spread of these diseases.
By keeping the surroundings clean, getting rid of stagnant water, eating hygienic, washed, and cooked food, and by getting necessary vaccinations, one can avoid falling victim to these diseases. Basic hygiene combined with education and prompt medical assistance can help tackle the spread of these dangerous diseases that have a propensity to spread quickly in times of natural calamities.