There are many ways to contract an infectious disease. They can be passed from one person to another. The disease can be transmitted by bites from insects or animals. Eating contaminated food, drinking unclean water, and being around harmful organisms can also lead to infection. These diseases can be caused either by bacteria, viruses, or parasites, as well as other micro-organisms.

Examples of common infectious diseases are?

Seasonal flu is one of the most prevalent infectious diseases. The symptoms last from seven to ten days and then disappear on their own. Like many other infectious diseases, the flu can be mild or severe.

The presentation of the disease depends on the patient’s health ranging from mild body aches and fever for a few days to severe complications like pneumonia. It also depends on the patient’s overall health.

Meningitis, pneumonia and urinary tract infections are a few other examples of common infectious diseases in the US. Travelers, particularly pregnant women, and those who are planning to get pregnant, should avoid places where the Zika virus is present.

When is it appropriate to seek treatment for an infection?

 These are signs that a patient should seek treatment:

  • Fevers that are not controlled at home by over-the-counter medication
  • Extreme diarrhea and vomiting can lead to dehydration or impair oral intake.
  • Severe headaches
  • Severe shortness of breath 

Patients who have been to high-risk countries such as West Africa during Ebola or South America since the Zika virus’s emergence should be particularly alert for these symptoms.

How is a patient evaluated for infection? 

Sethi Labs performs non-invasive diagnostic tests. This includes nasal swabs that can detect certain types of flu. Cultures can grow the specific type of bacteria being tested and blood tests can help identify infections or viruses. Stool samples can be tested and checked by specialists for parasites or other bacteria that are primarily affecting the gut.

Immunological tests can also be used to determine the presence of parasites in the blood or other bodily fluids. A blood or urine test for Zika virus is available.

How can infectious diseases be transmitted?

Contact with bodily fluids such as blood, sputum, semen, or vaginal secretions and mucus membranes (eyes, mouth, nose) can often transmit infectious diseases. The most common mode of transmission is aerosol droplets as seen in the case of the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

Some infectious diseases can be passed from one person to another, but others may be spread by being bitten by insects or other animals. Other diseases can be contracted by drinking contaminated water or food.

How long is the incubation time for infectious diseases?

Incubation is the time during which an infection remains in the bloodstream. The disease will determine the length of this period. Incubation is crucial because patients may not realize they have a disease until it has spread to others, or may not even know they have it.

How can patients avoid being exposed to infectious diseases?

There are many vaccines that can prevent infection, including those for Hepatitis A or Hepatitis B depending on where you live. You might also receive a meningococcal vaccination to prevent the spread of a particular type of meningitis that is more common in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Malaria prophylaxis is available (medications that are taken right before, during, and after travel). HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases are more prevalent in international settings due to a large population having unsafe sex.

A few cases have been reported of Zika virus transmission by mosquito bites in the United States. The majority of Americans who have contracted the Zika virus in the United States are health care professionals or people who have had close contact with infected persons’ body fluids, blood, or semen.

What happens after exposure to Ebola or Zika virus?

Ebola exposure is most likely to occur at an outbreak or endemic site. Patients who have been to an affected area would be subject to a 21-day observation period to ensure they do not develop symptoms. Since both Ebola and Zika can be transmitted sexually, patients must be mindful and take the relevant precautions i.e practice safe sex.

How can Zika virus exposure be prevented?

Pregnant women and women who are trying to get pregnant should follow CDC guidelines. They should also avoid traveling to affected areas.

Dr. Ngaruiya from Yale Medicine recommends the following:

  • Protective clothing is essential. Wear protective clothing if you plan to hike or go into rural areas.
  • Apply Permethrin to your clothes, then spray Picaridin or DEET on top.
  • Make sure to close all windows.
  • You can also use bed nets to keep mosquitoes away at night.

How can patients be treated for infections? The treatment of a patient will depend on their disease.

However, every disease is different and each one has its own treatment. Some mild infections can be treated with rest while others may require hospitalization. Some viruses are difficult to detect, there is no cure for Ebola or Zika. It’s all about safety before you go. Then, if symptoms do develop, seek care immediately, and in the case of Zika.

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