Overview

Infectious diseases are diseases caused by microorganisms. These are microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. They can sometimes be caught from other people, the environment, from animal contact, or from insect bites.

Infectious diseases can be any of the following:

  • Chickenpox
  • Common cold
  • Diphtheria
  • E. coli
  • Giardiasis
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Infectious mononucleosis
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Lyme disease
  • Malaria
  • Measles
  • Meningitis
  • Mumps
  • Poliomyelitis (polio)
  • Pneumonia
  • Rocky mountain spotted fever
  • Rubella (German measles)
  • Salmonella infections
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Shingles (herpes zoster)
  • Tetanus
  • Toxic shock syndrome
  • Tuberculosis
  • Viral hepatitis 
  • West Nile virus
  • Whooping cough (pertussis)

Symptoms of Infectious Disease

Many infectious diseases have similar symptoms, like:

  • fever,
  • diarrhea,
  • fatigue, and
  • muscle aches.

They can also have very specific symptoms. These diseases are also treated differently depending on how severe they are and how much they affect your immune system.

While you may not go to the doctor for a cold, if your symptoms last longer than a few days, you should see a doctor. You can also prevent some diseases by getting vaccinations.

Treatment for Infectious Disease

Many infectious diseases can be treated by antibiotics (specifically diseases caused by bacteria). Those caused by viruses can sometimes be treated by antiviral medications, and diseases caused by fungi can be treated by antifungals.

Some diseases, however, have become resistant to drugs. You should always consult a doctor about the best treatment option for your particular symptoms or disease.