Communicable & Infectious Diseases

Communicable and infectious diseases pass from one person to another by one of four methods. Blood transmission requires direct contact with the blood. Fecal to oral requires touching feces of contaminated objects and then touching your mouth. Respiratory transmission occurs by passing secretions from the throat, nose and lungs of one person to another through the air or by touch. Contact transfer is by touching a person’s skin or a contaminated surface.

Ringworm

Ringworm is a highly infectious fungal skin infection caused by tinea corporis, one of the tinea fungus families. Drugs.com, an online medical encyclopedia, reports ringworm passes from one person to another through direct skin contact or direct contact with items such as contaminated clothing, pool surfaces and combs. Pets also carry the fungus and spread it to people. The tinea fungi thrive in warm, moist areas. Ringworm infects the skin, scalp and nails. Symptoms include red, itchy patches on the skin that blister and ooze, bald areas on the scalp and discolored, thick nails. Treatment includes antifungal medication and daily washing of bed linens and sleepwear until the infection clears.

Cold Sores

Cold sores are from the herpes simplex virus that causes small blisters around or on the lips. The causes of an outbreak of the herpes simplex virus include a respiratory infection, too much sun or exposure to cold wind. Symptoms range from none to severe and include lip tingling, blister or blisters that burst and crust over, itching and sore lips lasting from three to seven days. Children’s Hospital Boston reports that treatment for cold sores includes the use of antiviral medication.

Salmonellosis

The Texas Department of Health Services reports that salmonellosis, caused by the salmonella bacteria, infects humans and animals. Symptoms include stomach pain, headache, nausea and diarrhea. Salmonellosis remains contagious for up to two months without antibiotic treatment. Methods of contracting the disease include hand-to-mouth contact with infected stool (feces), eating undercooked poultry or eggs and drinking untreated water. Preventive measures include cooking all poultry and eggs thoroughly, washing your hands after going to the restroom or changing a diaper and avoiding raw milk products.

Cytomegalovirus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that cytomegalovirus (CMV) affects about 50 to 80 percent of the adults in the Unites States by the age of 40 years old. CMV, a member of the herpes virus family, lives in body fluids such as urine, saliva, tears, blood and semen. CMV never goes away–once infected, it is for life. Methods of transmission for cytomegalovirus include person-to-person contact of body fluids, including from mother to unborn child. The CDC reports as many as 33 percent of the women with a first-time CMV infection during pregnancy pass the highly contagious virus to the unborn baby. Symptoms of congenital CMV include disabilities such as Down syndrome and neural tube defects such as spina bifida.