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Infectious diseases

Infectious diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi; the diseases can be spread, directly or indirectly, from one person to another. Zoonotic diseases are infectious diseases of animals that can cause disease when transmitted to humans.

Infectious diseases today continue to pose a significant burden to health and society. 

Increased travel and movement of goods has contributed to the persistent and ever-changing impact of infectious diseases. Although the effect on mortality of infectious diseases is greater in the developing world, infectious diseases in England generate a significant cost financially, socially, and on health and wellbeing.

In the UK, infectious diseases have been estimated to account for half of GP consultations for children, and over a third of GP consultations for adults.

Certain infectious diseases are of such significance that they are classed as Notifiable Infectious Diseases and it is the investigation of cases of these diseases locally that is carried out by the Health Protection Hub.

The notification system places most of the statutory responsibilities and powers for handling outbreaks with the local authority, including appointment of a ‘Proper Officer’, to whom all notifications must be made.

The responsibility for making such notifications rests with the doctor that makes the diagnosis. 

By notifying the Proper Officer of the local authority it allows us to identify and prevent the further spread of infectious disease. In some cases notifications are used to monitor the development of community outbreaks or the success of immunisation programmes. In many cases they prompt the identification of sources of infection, such as contaminated foodstuffs or the identification and protection of contacts, as in the case of meningitis or tuberculosis.

The following diseases are notifiable:

If you are concerned about an incident in Telford and Wrekin relating to an outbreak of food poisoning or other infectious disease, please contact healthprotectionhub@telford.gov.uk

As well as those infectious diseases listed above a number of other infections exist that are associated with transmission from animals 

  • Leptospirosis (Weil's disease) is an infection that is spread in the urine of infected animals – most commonly rats, mice, cows, pigs and dogs.
  • Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can be spread to humans by infected ticks. 
  • Toxoplasmosis is a common infection that you can catch from the faeces of infected cats, or infected meat. 

Golden rules to prevent the spread of infectious disease:

  • ensure that you are vaccinated and that your vaccinations are up to date
  • practice good hand hygiene – wash and dry your hands well and regularly
  • Stay at home if you are unwell
  • practice good respiratory hygiene - cover coughs and sneezes – catch it, bin it, kill it
  • clean and disinfect surfaces frequently 
  • keep your home well ventilated
  • prepare food safely 
  • practice safe sex.

Last updated: 23/08/2023 15:47

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