Explain the main sources of infection
Any infection has a source and factors that enhance its spread. An object is said to be a source of infection if the agent of infection dwells and reproduces there. The agent can be a man or animal from where the infectious agent gets released and infects other individuals. Sometimes, the outer environment can allow the agent to live there as a saprophyte, hence become a source of infection.
A patient can act as a source of infection. Diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis are transmitted sexually. Also, direct contact can lead to infection of diseases such as varicella zoster. Fecal-oral transmission is associated with foodborne diseases. Such diseases are transmitted through consumption of contaminated water or food.
Employees also act as important sources of infection. Employees are important carriers of bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermis, and gram-negative rods. These bacteria are responsible for postoperative wound infections. In America, Staphylococcus aureus is the main cause of surgical site infection. Transmission occurs through direct contact with the hands of an employee.
The environment is another source of infection. Warm water systems like cooling towers and humidifiers host legionella pneumophila. Stagnant water acts as a breeding ground for many disease-causing organisms. Legionellosis is more susceptible to elderly males suffering from respiratory and renal diseases. Mould in wet walls is responsible for fungal infections, especially in immunosuppressed patients. People exposed to fungi have the risk of getting infected by diseases.
Animals are also an important source of infection. Zoonoses refer to a disease transmitted from animals to man. Some of the diseases transmitted from animals are anthrax, salmonella, and leptospirosis among others.
The main sources of infection are water, food, environment, sick people (animals), poor housing, bodily fluids (like vomit, breast milk, urine, blood, sweat, sperm).