Communicable illnesses

Pathogenic microbes such as parasites, viruses, bacteria, and fungi cause communicable diseases. Individuals are infected either consciously or indirectly. Microbes exist both within and outside of our bodies. Such bacteria are harmful, while others are not. When transmissible viruses that affect animals are spread to humans, they can cause illness, which is known as zoonotic diseases (Long et al., 2013). A wide range of infectious diseases are communicable, and insect bites can also spread diseases from animals to humans. Some illnesses are contracted by the consumption of contaminated water or food. Furthermore, exposure to these species in the atmosphere is a risk factor. Signs and symptoms of the illnesses may vary depending on the causative agent responsible for the infection; however, fever and fatigue are most common. The primary focus of this paper is to identify the causes, symptoms, treatments and overall research of infectious diseases inside and outside of the USA.

Background Information

When the Second World War ended, people were confident that ways of dealing with infectious diseases had been found. Similar feelings were expressed all over the world including the United States where the funding for infectious diseases began to dwindle. History documents that contagious diseases have been with humanity for an extended period. Cases of smallpox being found in Egyptian mummies have been reported. Hippocrates studied and wrote about how diseases are spread through air and liquids, associating them with how people live, the weather conditions experienced in an area, and the nutrition of people. Cases of leprosy, plaques syphilis, smallpox, cholera, and other infectious diseases have also been reported throughout history. When the microscope was invented in the 1600s by Leeuwenhoek, it enabled scientists to identify microorganisms. In the 19th century, scientists were able to identify and cultivate microorganisms; this led to the development of vaccines introducing ways of preventing the diseases. People began to appreciate the environment through community sanitation, practicing hygiene within themselves and the areas in which they lived. Food sustenance was also seen as an essential factor in its relation to infectious diseases. Antibiotics and chemotherapy were introduced in the 20th century which have become crucial in combating infectious diseases (Bennet et al., 2014). Dependency on vaccination and health education has helped in controlling communicable diseases.


Even though each transmissible illness has unique symptoms, they also tend to have various signs such as fatigue, fever, muscle aches, diarrhea and coughing in some cases. It is advisable to seek proper medical attention when one is bitten by an animal and experience rashes or swellings, has difficulties in breathing or when there is an occurrence of a severe headache and prolonged or unexplained fever. Coughing that lasts more than a week, and sudden development of vision problem should also be reasons to seek medical attention.

Causes of Infectious Diseases

There are several agents responsible for causing communicable diseases. Bacteria which are single-celled organisms cause illnesses such as tuberculosis, urinary tract infections, mouth esophagus and throat infections, not all types of bacteria are harmful; there are some with have benefits (Bennett, Dolin, & Blaser, 2010). Infectious bacteria grow inside the body, dividing themselves and spreading throughout the body leading to an infectious disease, antibiotics are usually given in the treatment of bacterial infections which are severe. Fungi are microorganisms whose cell wall is made of chitin. Some forms of fungi are harmless to human beings, and some are not making them edible. They mostly instigate infections on the skin including ringworms and athlete’s foot (Debast et al., 2014). On the other hand, some of these microbes are injurious to the nervous system, lungs skin, and nails. Dreaded diseases like malaria are caused by parasites, which is transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquito through bites. Parasites are organisms that depend on other organisms for nutrient by living on them. Viruses are also responsible for causing infectious diseases.


Identifying the type of bacteria or virus which causes a disease is helpful in the treatment of the communicable diseases. Treatment can be carried out through the use of antibiotics. They are mainly used in the treatment of bacteria since bacteria is susceptible to certain classes of antibiotics. The antibiotics are usually used in the treatment of bacterial infections since they have no effects on illnesses causing viruses. Viruses are treated by anti-virals though not all of them (Kamar et al., 2014). Antifungals are used in treating fungi infected skin and nails. Diseases such as malaria which is caused by parasites are treated by anti-parasitics. There are certain parasites which have become resistant to the drugs.

Research in the United States and Other Countries on Infectious Diseases

Before the advancement in medicine and technology infectious diseases like tuberculosis, diarrhea, and pneumonia, accounted for almost half of the deaths in America. Research published in JAMA in the United States revealed that deaths due to infectious diseases were responsible for 5.4 percent of deaths from 1980 to 2014 this being a significant change ( Baron et al., 2013).

Research carried out in 2015 showed that communicable illnesses were among the major causes of death in the world. Lower respiratory infections were the most dangerous contagious illnesses accounting for 3.2 million deaths worldwide. Infectious diseases are not among the major causes of death in the United States while in developing countries tuberculosis, malaria and HIV are responsible for most of the deaths. In West Africa, Ebola virus infection has caused the deaths of many people while in east Africa a tropical disease known as kala-azar is spreading. Zika virus infection has threatened much of the Caribbean and Latin America it has begun in south Texas. Research carried out in the united states has enabled the country to reduce the deaths of infectious diseases while in developing continents such as Africa communicable diseases as still a threat to people.


The paper was interested in studying infectious diseases by looking at the leading causes, symptoms, and treatments of the diseases. Infectious diseases are mainly caused by viruses, fungi, bacteria, and parasites. Advancements in science and technology have enabled the treatment of these infectious diseases to come up such as antifungals, antibiotics, antivirals, and anti-parasitics. Communicable diseases can also be prevented by ensuring that one maintains bodily hygiene and keeping their environments clean. Globalization has also been a factor which has contributed to the spread of infectious diseases globally.


Baron, E. J., Miller, J. M., Weinstein, M. P., Richter, S. S., Gilligan, P. H., Thomson Jr, R. B., & Robinson-Dunn, B. (2013). A guide to utilization of the microbiology laboratory for diagnosis of infectious diseases: 2013 recommendations by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) a. Clinical infectious diseases, 57(4), e22-e121.

Bennett, J. E., Dolin, R., & Blaser, M. J. (2010). Principles and practice of infectious diseases (7th ed.). Elsevier Health Sciences.

Debast, S. B., Bauer, M. P., & Kuijper, E. J. (2014). European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases: update of the treatment guidance document for Clostridium difficile infection. Clinical Microbiology and Infection, 20(s2), 1-26.

Kamar, N., Dalton, H. R., Abravanel, F., & Izopet, J. (2014). Hepatitis E virus infection. Clinical microbiology reviews, 27(1), 116-138.

Long, S. S., Pickering, L. K., & Prober, C. G. (2013). Principles and practice of pediatric infectious diseases.

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