Infectious diseases kill more people worldwide than any other single cause. Infectious diseases are caused by germs. Germs are tiny living things that are found everywhere - in air, soil and water. You can get infected by touching, eating, drinking or breathing something that contains a germ. Germs can also spread through animal and insect bites, kissing and sexual contact. Vaccines, proper hand washing and medicines can help prevent infections.
There are four main kinds of germs:
- Bacteria - one-celled germs that multiply quickly and may release chemicals which can make you sick
- Viruses - capsules that contain genetic material, and use your own cells to multiply
- Fungi - primitive plants, like mushrooms or mildew
- Protozoa - one-celled animals that use other living things for food and a place to live
NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
- Germs: Learn How Germs Work and What You Can Do to Protect Yourself (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Infectious Diseases (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Understanding Microbes in Sickness and in Health (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) - PDF
- Coping with Stress during Infectious Disease Outbreaks (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) - PDF
- Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health: Tips for Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) - PDF
- Bacterial vs. Viral Infections: How Do They Differ? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Infections in People with Cancer (American Cancer Society)
- MedlinePlus: Antibiotic Resistance (National Library of Medicine) Available in Spanish
- Understand Quarantine and Isolation (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- What's the Difference Between Infectious and Contagious? (Nemours Foundation) Available in Spanish
- Examples of Neglected Tropical Diseases (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)
- Recurrent Infections May Signal Immunodeficiencies (American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology) Available in Spanish
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Genetics and Genomics of Pathogens: Fighting Infections with Genome-Sequencing Technology.
- Article: Risk Factors for Long-Term Mortality after Hospitalization for Community-Acquired Pneumonia:...
- Article: Assessing Patient-Reported Outcomes in Pediatric Populations With Vaccine-Preventable Infectious Diseases:...
- Infectious Diseases -- see more articles
- Childhood Contagious Diseases (Logical Images)
- Overview of Infectious Diseases (American Academy of Pediatrics) Available in Spanish
- Repeated Infections in Children (American Academy of Family Physicians) Available in Spanish
- Talking with Children: Tips for Caregivers, Parents, and Teachers during Infectious Disease Outbreaks (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) - PDF
- What Is a Pediatric Infectious Diseases Specialist? (American Academy of Pediatrics) Available in Spanish