Basic Disease Investigation
Module One: Communicable Disease Basics
Page
Communicable Disease
Communicable, or infectious, diseases are human illnesses caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi and other microbes. These diseases may be spread by direct contact with an infected person or animal, by ingesting contaminated food or water, by insects like mosquitoes or ticks (vectors), or by contact with contaminated surroundings like animal droppings or even contaminated air.
With the introduction of antibiotics over 50 years ago, scientists made sweeping predictions heralding the end of death and suffering from infectious diseases. However, during the past 25 years, microbes have demonstrated their tremendous ability to adapt, survive and challenge us. Infectious diseases remain the leading cause of death worldwide.
Of the top ten causes of death compiled by the World Health Organization for 2004, five were due to infectious diseases. In the United States, two of the ten leading causes of death are infectious diseases (HIV/AIDS and pneumonia/ influenza). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 160,000 Americans die each year with an infectious disease as the underlying cause of death.
This course will introduce you to a variety of communicable diseases, routes of disease transmission, and disease control terminology.
Of the top ten causes of death compiled by the World Health Organization for 2004, five were due to infectious diseases.