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Infectious diseases

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What are infectious diseases?

Infectious diseases are infections that can be passed from one person to another. Infections can also be passed on to humans from birds, insects and animals. Malaria is an example of this, as is E. coli

How are they caught?

Infectious diseases are caught in a number of ways, depending on the type of bug it is and how they survive in the environment. For example:

  • Tiny droplets of mucous in the air (measles)
  • Directly from a surface or object touched by an infected person, such as a door handle ( MRSA)
  • Eating or drinking something that is contaminated or infected (Salmonella)
  • Breathing in germs from another person who is breathing them out (tuberculosis of the lung)
  • Through infected blood and blood products (HIV)

How can I avoid infections?

There are some simple measures that you can take to reduce the risk of getting an infection:

  • Make sure you and your family are up to date with your jabs/vaccinations and if travelling abroad get advice well in advance from your GP regarding any tablets or injections that may be needed for protection
  • Always wash and dry your hands thoroughly
  • Follow simple food safety guidance
  • If you are caring for someone who has diarrhoea, use disposable gloves and apron if possible and wash your hands thoroughly after removing them. Ensure the toilet is cleaned and disinfected with bleach after each use
  • If you have an auto immune disease, or chronic disease, such as renal failure or diabetes, you have a higher risk of getting an infection. Also, chemotherapy and some tablets such as steroids can increase your risk. Your GP will advise you on how to avoid your chances of getting an infection  
  • If you develop diarrhoea and vomiting and it is likely to be norovirus, you need to stay off work/ school for 48 hours after the last symptom. This depends on what the cause of the diarrhoea is. If you are in any doubt, contact your GP by phone rather than visit the GP as you may pass the disease on to others

Antibiotic resistance and related information

Tick awareness

To find out all about ticks and lyme disease, please PDFread our FAQ read our FAQ 64kb or PDFdownload our poster download our poster 70kb.

Further information can be found in our PDFtick awareness leaflet tick awareness leaflet 84kb.

Contact Details (LiveLink)

Multiple Contacts:
eMail: publichealth@wiltshire.gov.uk

0300 003 4566

Out of hours:
Postal Address:

Public Health
Wiltshire Council
County Hall
BA14 8JN

In Person:

Last updated: 20 October 2016



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