What are re-emerging and emerging infectious diseases?

They are infections that have newly appeared in a population or have existed but are rapidly increasing in incidence or geographic range.

Why are they re-emerging?

Infectious diseases are re-emerging because of changes in human demographics, dietary habits, food handling, sexual behaviors, drug use, deforestation, fluctuations in rainfall and temperature, globalization of food supply, inadequate public health infrastructures, global travel, and adaptation of microbes.

What is antibiotic resistance?

Antibiotic resistance is the ability of bacteria or other microbes to resist the effects of an antibiotic.

How does an organism become resistant to antibiotics?

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria mutate in order to reduce or eliminate a drug’s effect. The bacteria that survive will then continue to multiply resulting in drug resistant organisms.

What is the difference between bacteria and viruses?

Bacteria are microorganisms that can exist independently from a host. Most bacteria cause no harm.

Viruses are smaller than bacteria and require a host to multiple. Viruses cause illness by invading healthy cells and reproducing.

Do antibiotics work on viruses?

No, antibiotics are created to target certain structures within bacteria. Viruses differ from bacteria structurally, and therefore do not contain the necessary targets for antibiotics to be effective.

What is the best way to prevent getting sick?

The best way to prevent the spread of germs is to properly wash your hands several times a day. For a better description please see blog.

If I have received all my vaccinations, am I still at risk of contracting an infectious disease?

Yes, unfortunately there are only a few emerging infectious diseases that have vaccinations. Even if you have received a vaccination, it does not mean that you are 100% immune from a disease. There is still a small likelihood that you can contract a disease, however, the symptoms will be less severe compared to those who have not been vaccinated.

When should you wash your hands and use hand sanitizers?

You should wash your hands before tending to a wound and preparing or eating food; after going to the bathroom, changing diapers, tending to someone who is sick, blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, handling garbage, and petting animals.

Hand sanitizers should be used if soap and water are not available.  If your hands are visibly clean use hand sanitizer. If your hands are visibly dirty, wash them with soap and water.

What is the proper technique for using sanitizer?

Apply product to the palm of one hand, rub hands together, and then rub the product over all surfaces until dry.


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