A few preliminary thoughts on preventing the
spread of communicable diseases
Being hygienic in food preparation - washing
hands, clean work surfaces, storing food correctly e.g. in fridge.
Covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing
and into a tissue or handkerchief.
Washing your hands after using the toilet.
Vaccination programmes against a potential
viral or bacterial infection.
Isolating infected individuals in the home or
Destroying pathogen vectors (see malaria and
Methods and strategies for
minimising infection from communicable diseases
Early detection and treatment
This reduces chances of spreading a disease,
but it is very dependant on your own knowledge of a disease and
access to a good healthcare system for diagnosis and treatment.
Hygiene to reduce infection
You should be as hygienic as possible in your everyday life to
reduce the spread of communicable diseases e.g.
Washing your hands thoroughly after going to the toilet,
washing your hands before preparing and handling food, sneezing
into a tissue rather than into the 'open air' and disposing of
Treating and cleaning kitchen worktops
with antiseptic sprays.
Careful storage of foods that might 'go off' i.e. food might
develop harmful pathogens like bacteria.
Carefully dispose of waste food.
Precautions when engaged in sexual activity.
Isolation of patients to reduce
If you are infected with a disease, as far is practicable, try to
minimise contact with other people and therefore minimise passing
the infection on - in extreme cases, you might end up in an
Vaccination to reduce infection
Where possible, vaccination of people or animals can be used to
control the spread of communicable diseases.
Vaccination prevents the disease from developing and so the
infection cannot be passed on.
Keeping healthy - defence against
pathogens, infectious diseases, vaccination
Vectors to reduce the mechanism
of infection transmission
If you can kill or reduce the organisms that carry a disease (the
vectors) you minimise their ability to pass the disease on.
Vectors like insects can be killed using insecticides or
destroying their breeding ground habitats.
Isolating yourself, as far as is practicable,
from other people, reducing your chances of passing on your
infection. Some people with a serious communicable disease may be
placed in a hospital isolation ward.
People are vectors too! e.g. sexually transmitted
infection/disease can be defined as an infection/disease that is
transmitted via body fluids through sexual contact (STI/STD)]
to reduce the concentration of pathogens in water
Potable water is water deemed fit for safe human
consumption i.e. free of harmful pathogens.
Waste water needs to be treated prior to human use OR after human
Chlorine and ozone are used to kill bacteria in drinking water.
Historically in developed countries, and still in many developing
countries, thousand of people, especially children, die from
contaminated water e.g. the cholera bacterium, that killed many in
Victorian England and elsewhere.