Pathogens are disease causing microorganisms.
They can be spread in many ways; by direct contact, by water or by air. Different pathogens are spread by different mechanisms.
How can transmission be reduced or prevented?
Depending upon which disease you are trying to reduce transmission for, depends upon which methods you need to engage.
Simple hygiene measures can reduce or prevent the spread of many diseases, including flu and the common cold.
To reduce or prevent cholera and other diarrhoea causing pathogens, communities need access to safe drinking water, adequate sanitation so that dirty water is not exposed and basic hygiene needs such as washing hands properly, boil water properly and keep surfaces clean.
Malaria and yellow fever both have mosquitos as their vector, and lyme disease uses ticks. A vector is an organism that has an active role in transmitting pathogens from one host to another. To prevent or reduce infection from vector borne diseases, the vectors need to be controlled or humans protected against the vector such as wearing mosquito repellent and wearing long sleeved clothing. Insecticide and spraying techniques can be used to reduce the populations of the vectors, but this is trickier and more expensive.
If a disease is highly contagious, such as rabies, people may need to be isolated to prevent the infection spreading to others.
Vaccinations are also an option for preventing and reducing pathogens. Vaccinations involve putting a small amount of inactive or dead pathogen into the body, which stimulates the body to produce antibodies against the specific pathogen. This enables the body to be prepared to attack and destroy this pathogen if they are infected in future.
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