Transmission

Micro-organisms can be transmitted in many ways:

a) By droplet infection: an infected person coughing and sneezing or spitting will expel organisms into the air where they may be inhaled by others.

b) By handling contaminated articles such as clothing, towels and equipment, when microorganisms may be transmitted to the handler.

c) Dirty surfaces or dusty atmospheres will contain micro-organisms, which may be inhaled or may enter via the eyes or ears.

d) Organisms present in faeces and urine may be transferred to others if the hands are not thoroughly washed after use of the toilet.

e) Food may become contaminated by handling with unwashed hands and flies carrying contamination from excreta and rubbish. Water may become contaminated and then organisms will be transmitted through eating and drinking these foods.

f) Organisms may be spread through contact with animals.

g) Through direct contact with others, hand contact or touching.

h) Organisms may be spread through an intermediary host such as fleas and blood-sucking insects.

i) Contaminated blood, if transmitted to another person, can cause serious and sometimes fatal illness. Organisms can be transmitted through blood transfusion, infected needles or at any time when the blood of the carrier (infected person) enters the body of the recipient. Hepatitis B and the HIV virus, which causes AIDS, are transmitted in this way. These are very serious life-threatening illnesses and great care must be taken to avoid any blood contact at any time. Any blood spots should be dealt with by wearing gloves and using strong disinfectant, e.g. household bleach. Needles and ear piercing equipment must be carefully disposed of into a 'sharps box'.

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