Glencoe Health 2005.pdf

Toxin bacteria viruses other types of pathogens other

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toxin Bacteria Viruses
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Other Types of Pathogens Other types of organisms also can cause communicable diseases. Fungi are plantlike organisms, such as molds and yeasts. Some types can cause diseases of the skin, such as athlete’s foot; diseases of the mucous membranes; or of the lungs. Protozoans are single-celled organisms that are larger and more complex than bacteria. Most are harmless, but some can cause disease, especially in people with weakened immune systems. Rickettsias are pathogens that resemble bacteria. Like viruses, they multiply by invading the cells of another life form. Often these organisms enter humans through the bites of insects such as fleas or lice. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is the most fre- quently reported illness spread by rickettsias. How Communicable Diseases Are Transmitted here are several means of transmitting, or spreading, pathogens. T Transmission can occur through direct and indirect contact and through breathing contaminated air. Some diseases can be trans- mitted in more than one way. If you know how they are spread, you can take precautions and avoid infection. Direct Contact Many pathogens are transmitted by direct contact with an infected person or animal or with something in the environment. Direct contact includes touching, biting, kissing, and sexual con- tact. Sneezing and coughing can spray infectious droplets of saliva or mucus into a nearby person’s eyes, nose, or mouth. A pregnant woman may also transmit an infection to her unborn child through the placenta. A person can get tetanus from a puncture wound by a rusty nail. Indirect Contact Some communicable diseases can be transmitted indirectly, with- out being close to an infected person. The following are ways dis- eases can be transmitted through indirect contact: Contaminated objects. Inanimate objects can become contaminated with infectious discharges or secretions. Suppose that a person with a cold sneezes onto a table or into his or her hand and then touches the table. The cold viruses can be transmitted to you if you touch the table and then touch your nose or eyes. Use proper handwashing techniques to avoid transmitting infections. 624 Chapter 24 Communicable Diseases Respect. One simple action can demonstrate your respect for your own health and the health of others. Every time you wash your hands properly you reduce the risk of spreading potential pathogens, especially when you prepare food or when you touch objects that others may put in their mouths. What other safe food-handling habits can you practice? Try to reduce your risk of infection when you partici- pate in outdoor activities where vectors are common. How is this teen protecting himself from deer ticks? HS_HEALTH_U08_C24_L1 12/8/03 5:27 PM Page 624
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Vectors. An organism, usually an arthropod, such as a tick, that carries and transmits pathogens to humans or other animals is known as a . For example, a mosquito may take in pathogens when it feeds on an infected person. The mosquito then injects
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