Those disease which are caused by organisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites are known as infectious diseases. They are typically contagious and can be caught from another person, from animal or insect bites, ingesting contaminated water or food or being exposed to other elements in the environment.
There are numerous infectious diseases and signs and symptoms of having any one of them can vary. Most often a person experiences consistent levels of decreased energy, due to weakening of the immune system, loss of appetite, nausea, fevers and chills and an overall feeling of sickness. Treatments for infectious diseases depends on the cause of the disease which needs to be identified before the proper treatment can be given. A diseased caused by bacteria is usually treated with antibiotics while those who experience fungal infections are given anti-fungal medications. Those with parasitic infections such as malaria are usually prescribed anti-malarial medications so the symptoms can be reduced. Many viral infections such as the common cold have no special treatment but others such as chicken pox, measles and the mumps can be prevented with the use of vaccines.
Some infectious disease are more well-known than others. Hepatitis, a viral infection, is a condition which affects the liver, causing inflammation. Symptoms of the disease include a yellowish discoloration of the skin and dark urine. This disease needs to be detected and treated as early as possible as it can cause irreversible skin damage if not done so.
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Pneumonia is a disease that is an infection of the lungs where the lungs get inflamed. It can be the result of either a virus or bacteria. The symptoms of this disease are chest pains, problems with breathing and coughing. The disease is diagnosed with chest X-rays and blood tests and, if caused by bacteria, treated with antibiotics.
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Tuberculosis is also a disease in which bacteria infect the lungs. These bacteria come from the air and so can affect children through adults. Unfortunately, its symptoms become noticed when it has reached an advanced stage. It starts with a cough that worsens and then produces blood. The cough can last for more than three weeks and chest pains are often the result. There can also be fever, weight loss and fatigue.
A vaccine is given in many parts of the world to prevent tuberculosis, particularly in infants and children. Early diagnosis of this disease is also important as it can be cured with appropriate antibiotics. Surgery of the lungs is only required when the use of medication has not be successful. Without any kind of treatment, tuberculosis can be a lethal infection.
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Finally, malaria is an infectious disease transmitted by the anopheles mosquito which comes in contact with the human body. It is a life-threatening disease of the blood but it can be prevented and treated successfully. Symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, chills and fatigue. Some common treatments for malaria include doxycycline used along with quinine, clindamycin also used along with quinine and mefloquine. A vaccine for the prevention of malaria is undergoing clinical trials by a company in Rockville, Maryland.