Infectious diseases, also called communicable diseases, are human illnesses caused by germs such as viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi, and other microbes. Ways these diseases may be spread include: eating, drinking, breathing or touching something that contains germs; direct contact with an infected person or animal; breathing contaminated air; kissing and sexual contact; ingesting contaminated food or water; bites by animals or insects such as mosquitoes or ticks; or contact with animal droppings. Prevention focuses on measures such as hand washing, vaccination, safe food preparation, safe sex, staying home when ill, and traveling safely.
MedlinePlus: Infectious Diseases
Developed at the National Library of Medicine specifically for consumers, this site is a portal for both government-sponsored and privately developed health information targeting the lay public. Click on Health Topics, then scroll down and click on Infectious Diseases to find an extensive listing of resources that will help you understand this topic.
Centers for Disease Control and Infection: Diseases & Conditions A-Z Index
The mission of the Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC) is to promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability. This site is a gateway to CDC information on a wide variety of infectious diseases.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: Health & Research Topics
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), one of the National Institutes of Health, conducts and supports basic and applied research to better understand, treat, and ultimately prevent infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases. Many infectious disease topics are accessible from this site.
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research: Infectious Diseases
This site provides a basic overview of infectious diseases. Also included is more in-depth information on specific infectious disease topics such as HIV/AIDS, human papilloma virus, hepatitis, E. coli in food, differentiating bacterial versus viral infections, antibiotic use and misuse, and hand-washing for prevention of infectious diseases.
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