Causes and Spread of Infection

1) Infections are the result of the body’s inability to fight off microorganisms that can cause damage or disease if they are left untreated. They can be viral or bacterial in nature and might be caused by a fungus or parasite. There are many common types and there are some rare ones which all have varying causes and treatments. Common bacterial infections include strep throat, urinary tract infections and E. coli; the different types are caused by many different types of bacteria.

Infections are caused by micro-organisms which are known as pathogens, there are three sources of pathogens; •Within a person’s body- called endogenous •From other people through touching, coughs or sneezes called exogenous •From contaminated equipment or elements such as dust or water known as environmental. Viral infections are different than bacterial because they are caused by viruses which are smaller than a bacterium or fungus. When a virus infects healthy cells it prevents the cells from doing their job and causes sickness.

Viruses infect a specific type of cell which causes viral infections to affect certain parts of the body. A cold is the most common type and generally affects the upper respiratory tract. Influenza is another common infection but symptoms can affect the entire body. Outcome 1 1)Bacteria are very small singular organisms which can be found almost everywhere; they are the smallest living cells typically only a few micrometres in length. A number of bacteria can cause disease, these are called pathogenic bacteria. Not all bacteria is bad, we need bacteria to stay alive.

Viruses- it is a coated genetic material that invades cells and uses the cells apparatus for reproduction, this is why it is important to wash hands frequently. Fungi is a multi-celled living organism, it is a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and moulds. Parasites are types of living animals and plants that derive benefit from metabolism of other animals and plants. Viruses aren’t living; they are made of complex proteins and nucleic acids. Bacteria, Fungi and Parasites are living organisms. 2).

There are common illnesses and infections which are caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. Bacteria can cause food poisoning, ear infections, bronchitis, chest infections and tonsillitis. Viruses can cause common colds, flu attacks, sickness and diarrhoea and warts. Fungi can cause ring worm, yeast infections and athletes foot. Parasites can cause worms, malaria and sleeping sickness. 3) Infection in general terms in an invasion to the body tissues from a disease caused microorganism, it’s the illness caused by the growth of a germ on or in a person.

The infection might not give any symptoms this is known as ‘asymptomatic’ infection. When the germ is found on our body without causing any illness it is known as colonisation. Colonisation is multiplication of microorganisms without tissue invasion or damage. 4) A localised infection is an infection that is limited to a specific body part or region this could be infections such as cellulitis of the skin or a bladder infection. A systemic infection is the opposite, the infection is distributed throughout the whole body this could be illnesses such as a cold or the flu.

5) There are poor practices which may lead to the spread of infection, this could be not washing hands frequently, not wearing personal protective clothing, wearing jewellery, not tying back long hair, not covering your mouth and nose if you sneeze or cough. Wearing inappropriate clothing and footwear can also lead to the spread of infection. 6) There are certain conditions which are needed for the growth of micro-organisms. Micro-organisms need food to survive, they like high protein food such as dairy products, raw eggs and uncooked fish.

Microorganisms need moisture and warmth; they grow best at 20-40c. Air is needed for micro-organisms to multiply although some can do without. 2) Infections are caused by microorganisms known as pathogens, there are three sources of pathogens; 1)Within a person’s body called endogenous (For example, some microorganisms from the stomach can cause infections in other parts of the body) 2)From other people through touching, coughs or sneezes called exogenous 3)From contaminated equipment or elements such as dust or water- known as environmental.

They could go down the respiratory tract into the lungs, coughs, colds and other common airborne infections are contracted in this fashion. Anything that penetrates the skin, or for that matter the mucous membrane that lines the mouth or nose provides a route for infection to enter; this could be bites, scratches, puncture wounds by needles etc. They could also enter down the digestive tract, food, drink or other infected products can be swallowed and infect the stomach or bowels which reveals itself in the form of diarrhoea and or vomiting.

An infective agent might also enter up the urinary and reproductive systems; the infectious agent may remain localized or may enter the blood stream. Sexually transmitted diseases most commonly infect the genitals; these can be transmitted in saliva, seminal fluid or blood. 3) The sources of infection are numerous, for each type of infection a specific source becomes more significant than others in the delivery of the infectious agent to the host. The sources of infection can be divided into two main groups, these are exogenous and endogenous sources.

A source of infection is endogenous when the infectious agent comes from the persons own body. Exogenous sources of infection introduce organisms from anywhere outside to the inside of the body, this is the case the majority of the time. Infections can come from unwashed hands, ppe not being worn, unclean equipment being used generally if poor hygiene is used. 4) There are various ways that infective agents can be transmitted to a person, it is usually the transmission of microorganisms directly from one person to another by droplet contact.

Droplet contact is either sneezing or coughing on or near another person without using a tissue or hand to try and shield it. Infective agents can be transmitted to another person by direct physical contact, touching an infected person could lead to this. Indirect physical contact could also cause infective agents to be transmitted to another person, usually by touching soil contamination or a contaminated surface. Airborne transmission is very common; if the microorganism can remain in the air for long periods of time it can lead to infective agents being transmitted.

Faecal-oral transmission usually from contaminated food or water sources also transmits infective agents to others. 5) There are key factors that make it more likely that infection will occur, if a person does not practice a safe and hygienic way of working this could make it more likely that infection will occur and then spread. Using person protective equipment is vital when providing care for vulnerable people whose immune system will not be as strong as a younger person.

If ppe is not worn correctly it exposes people to all sorts of infections which could have disastrous consequences. Wearing the incorrect uniform and footwear could also increase the risk of infection; not washing hands frequently is a very common form of how infection occurs. If someone who has a virus goes into close proximity to another it will make it more likely that infection will occur. Dirty or contaminated areas in which bacteria can grow also increases the chance of infection occurring. If standard precautions are not met it increases the risk of infection occurring a lot.

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Fungi are: Fungi are living organisms that are distantly related to plants, and more closely related to animals, but rather different from either of those groups. Fungi have similar physical characteristics to plants and are sometimes mistakenly put in the …

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