Infectious diseases are caused by microorganisms like viruses, bacteria, fungus, and even parasites. These diseases can be spread between people in various ways and are often referred to as contagious diseases due to the ease at which they can be transmitted between humans.


Some examples of common infectious diseases and their transmission potential include meningitis, a respiratory disease, which can be transmitted by coughing, sneezing, talking, or kissing. Gastrointestinal diseases can be transmitted by eating or drinking foods and water than is contaminated. Sexually transmitted infectious diseases are spread through sexual activity. Some types of infectious diseases are spread by penetrating the skin directly such as with insect bites or acquired indirectly by touching a contaminated object.


Preventing the spread of infectious diseases starts with the identification of the disease and the proper medical intervention in order to prevent its transmission to others. Some diseases can be prevented through proper hygiene such as hand washing and some diseases require quarantine. An infectious disease specialist may be required in addition to your regular physician’s help to identify and treat an infectious disease. A medical history and a physical exam will be necessary to determine additional testing for disease. Blood testing, x-rays, and other medical procedures will be used depending on the diagnosis.


Vaccinations have been developed throughout history to prevent certain infectious diseases that plagued society through history such as smallpox in epidemic quantities. These vaccines are helpful in preventing the infection from spreading disease. Other infectious diseases like HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis have treatments available but no known cure or preventative vaccine has been created to date.


Treatment for such diseases varies by the person and their diagnosis. People will experience symptoms of infectious diseases on different levels but many infections will exhibit symptoms ranging from mild to severe that include fever and chills. Infections that can quickly become life threatening require hospitalization and high levels of intravenous antibiotics.