How Infectious Diseases Spread

Some Basic Principles
Carmen Lobitz
Titelbild zum englischen Beitrag über Infektionskrankheiten
© Tatiana Shepeleva,

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The relationships between pathogens, host organism and environmental factors play a major role in the spread of infectious diseases. Specific knowledge of transmission routes, infection sources and chains (as well as ports of entry) is important for prophylactic measures and control. Each infectious disease is different and has its own epidemiology.

What are the sources of infection?

The intake of virulent microorganisms can lead to infection. This is where the biological confrontation of the host organism with the pathogen begins. Infected is the term used for humans and animals that have taken up or are carrying pathogens. Contaminated is the term used for substances and objects that came into contact with pathogens. The source of infection is the infected person or a pathogen carrier. These can include people in incubation, manifestly or abortively ill people, contact pathogen carriers who are not themselves ill, convalescent patients, permanent carriers after recovery and immunized pathogen carriers (people who have been vaccinated against a disease).

Can animals also be vectors?

Animals also play a major role as vectors or int…

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