Back to: Jss1 Physical and Health Education (BST)
Topic: Pathogens, Diseases and their Prevention
WEEK: 7 & 8
Pathogens, diseases, and their prevention are fundamental concepts in the field of medicine and public health. Pathogens are microscopic organisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites that can cause disease in humans, animals, and plants. These microorganisms can enter the body through different routes, including inhalation, ingestion, and skin contact, and can cause a wide range of illnesses, from mild infections to life-threatening diseases.
Diseases are conditions that cause harm to the body, impairing its normal functioning. They can be caused by various factors, including genetic predisposition, environmental factors, and pathogens. Some examples of diseases caused by pathogens include tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria, COVID-19, and influenza.
Prevention of diseases caused by pathogens is an essential aspect of public health. There are various measures that can be taken to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, including vaccination, hygiene practices such as washing hands regularly and covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, practising safe sex, and avoiding contact with infected individuals or contaminated objects.
There are also various public health initiatives aimed at controlling the spread of diseases caused by pathogens. These initiatives include disease surveillance and monitoring, rapid response to outbreaks, and research into the development of new treatments and vaccines.
Understanding pathogens, diseases, and their prevention is crucial for maintaining public health and reducing the impact of infectious diseases on individuals and society as a whole.
Meaning of Pathogens
Pathogens are disease-causing microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites that have the ability to invade the human body and cause illness or disease. They can cause a wide range of illnesses, from mild infections such as the common cold, to severe or life-threatening diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, Ebola, or COVID-19. Pathogens can spread from person to person through various routes, including direct contact, airborne droplets, contaminated food and water, and insect bites. They can also be transmitted through contact with animals or their waste products. Effective measures such as vaccination, hygiene practices, and antibiotics can help prevent and treat infections caused by pathogens.
Meaning of Diseases
A disease is a medical condition or disorder that affects the normal functioning of a living organism. It can be caused by various factors such as infection, genetics, lifestyle, environmental factors, or a combination of these.
Diseases can affect different parts of the body such as organs, tissues, cells, or systems, and can manifest in various symptoms, such as pain, fever, fatigue, and others. Some diseases are mild and can be easily treated, while others are severe and can be life-threatening.
Examples of diseases include infectious diseases such as flu, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS, chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and cancer, and mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatments of diseases is essential in managing and preventing their spread and impact on human health.
Types of Diseases
- Infectious Diseases: These are caused by pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites that can spread from one person to another through various means like air, water, food, or bodily fluids. Examples include flu, tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV.
- Non-infectious Diseases: These are not caused by pathogens, but by factors such as genetics, lifestyle, environment, or underlying medical conditions. Examples include diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and asthma.
- Chronic Diseases: These are long-lasting and often incurable diseases that require ongoing management and treatment. Examples include arthritis, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, and Parkinson’s disease.
- Acute Diseases: These are sudden-onset diseases that develop rapidly and require immediate medical attention. Examples include stroke, heart attack, and acute infections.
- Autoimmune Diseases: These are caused by a malfunctioning immune system that attacks the body’s own cells and tissues, leading to inflammation and damage. Examples include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.
- Congenital Diseases: These are present at birth and are often caused by genetic or developmental factors. Examples include Down syndrome, congenital heart defects, and cystic fibrosis.
- Mental Health Disorders: These are conditions that affect a person’s mood, behaviour, and thinking, and can impact their ability to function in daily life. Examples include depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
Diseases Caused by Pathogens
|Influenza||Influenza virus||Airborne transmission||Vaccination, hand hygiene, avoiding close contact with sick||Seasonal flu, H1N1, avian flu|
|COVID-19||SARS-CoV-2||Airborne transmission, contact spread||Vaccination, hand hygiene, social distancing||Coronavirus disease 2019|
|Tuberculosis||Mycobacterium tuberculosis||Airborne transmission||Vaccination, early diagnosis and treatment, isolation||Pulmonary tuberculosis, extrapulmonary tuberculosis|
|Malaria||Plasmodium spp.||Vector-borne transmission (mosquitoes)||Insecticide-treated bed nets, indoor residual spraying||Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax|
|HIV/AIDS||Human immunodeficiency virus||Sexual contact, blood-to-blood transmission||Safe sex, avoiding sharing needles, antiretroviral therapy||Acquired immune deficiency syndrome|
|Measles||Measles virus||Airborne transmission||Vaccination, hand hygiene, isolation||Measles, German measles|
|Hepatitis B||Hepatitis B virus||Sexual contact, blood-to-blood transmission||Vaccination, avoiding sharing needles and razors||Hepatitis B, chronic hepatitis B|
|Cholera||Vibrio cholera||Contaminated water or food||Safe water and food, hand hygiene||Cholera, epidemic cholera|
|Dengue fever||Dengue virus||Vector-borne transmission (mosquitoes)||Insecticide-treated bed nets, vector control||Dengue fever, severe dengue|
|Yellow fever||Yellow fever virus||Vector-borne transmission (mosquitoes)||Vaccination, insecticide-treated bed nets, vector control||Yellow fever|
|Typhoid fever||Salmonella Typhi||Contaminated water or food||Safe water and food, hand hygiene||Typhoid fever, enteric fever|
|Polio||Poliovirus||Faecal-oral transmission||Vaccination, hand hygiene, improved sanitation||Polio, paralytic polio|
|Whooping cough||Bordetella pertussis||Airborne transmission||Vaccination, hand hygiene, isolation||Whooping cough, pertussis|
|Ebola virus disease||Ebola virus||Contact with infected bodily fluids||Isolation, protective equipment||Ebola virus disease, hemorrhagic fever|
|Zika virus infection||Zika virus||Vector-borne transmission (mosquitoes)||Insecticide-treated bed nets, vector control||Zika virus infection, Zika fever|
|Rabies||Rabies virus||Animal bites||Vaccination, avoiding contact with infected animals||Rabies, furious rabies, paralytic rabies|
Disease Preventive Measures
The following preventive measures can guard against the spread of diseases:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with a tissue or your elbow.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Maintain a distance of at least six feet from others.
- Wear a mask or face covering when in public places.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Get vaccinated against infectious diseases such as COVID-19, influenza, and others.
- Follow food safety guidelines when cooking and handling food.
- Stay hydrated and maintain a healthy diet.
- Exercise regularly to strengthen your immune system.
- Get enough rest and sleep.
- Reduce stress through meditation, yoga, or other relaxation techniques.
- Stay informed about the latest disease outbreaks and guidelines from health authorities.