(204.1 Understand the causes of infection)
1.1 Identify the difference between bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites:
(1.2 Identify common illnesses and infections caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites)
Bacteria is a micro- organism that is found on everything. It can be good, for decomposing fruit and veg, or it can be bad, and cause things like infection. There are 4 different types of bacteria:
Coccus: Which is spherical shaped
Coccus bacteria can be round in the nasal membranes, and also lives on your skin, harmlessly.
“but if they get deeper into the body they can release toxins that damage tissue and stop organs working.”
(2.1) Common illnesses with Coccus bacteria are:
Pneumonia, MRSA(also known as the super bug),is a strain of bacteria resistant to antibiotics, usually shows up in the form of a severe skin infection, and toxic shock syndrome (TSS), caused by bacteria in the body releasing toxins.
Bacillus: Which is rod-like shaped.
Bacillus bacteria are commonly found in mud/ soil and water.
(1.2) Common illnesses with Bacillus are: Typhoid and cystitis
Again, like most bacteria Bacillus thrive in a warmer environment. This bacteria in particular is found a lot in open wounds and is usually the main cause of infection.
Spirochete: This can be spiral- or corkscrew-shaped
The Spirochete bacteria is found in mud and water and tend to be in environments with less oxygen.
(1.2) Common illnesses with Spirochete are:
An infected colon – (this mostly effects people with weakened immune systems) Discomfort/ itching, pain when going to the toilet, bleeding.
In more serious cases Spirochete can also cause Lyme disease, most common sign is redness of the skin, usually appearing about a week after contracting the infection.
Vibrio – (Similar to the above) This can also be comma-shaped.
Vibrio bacteria can found in poorly cooked seafood and salt water.
(1.2) Common illnesses with Vibrio bacteria are:
Gastrointestinal illnesses – abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills. With this case it’s usually gone within a few days.
Wound infections – soreness/redness of the skin, blisters, spreading of a wound. Vibrio can also cause Septicaemia, this is an infection of the blood, which my result in extremely low blood pressure and fever.
A Virus is a tiny particle that is capable of infecting a cell and, likely, causing disease. The first cell that becomes infected by the virus is called the “host cell”, the virus needs the host cell in order to infect other cells.
Viruses are also considered as micro-organisms.
A virus spreads is by attaching to other cells and making “copies” of itself. Viruses appear everywhere in the environment and all organisms can be infected by them. A viral infection can trigger an “immune response” which usually kills the virus, causing an immune response can be done by vaccines.
viruses like HIV and hepatitis avoid these immune responses, this can then lead to sever infections. Antibiotics have no effect on a virus, but you can get medication that can help your body”get rid”of the virus or slow them down.
(1.2) Common illnesses caused by Viruses:
The main viruses we are vaccinated for are
Human papillomavirus (HPV) which is the most common cause of cervical cancer.
Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)
Bacteria and Viruses are not the same. The main difference between bacteria and viruses is that bacteria can reproduce by itself whereas a viruses need a living cell, also called a “host”, to reproduce.
A Fungus (fungi) is a type of living organism. Examples of fungi are:
Fungi tend to thrive in damp and warm conditions, places like wet soil or the corner of a room. They can also reproduce in three ways, these are, fragmentation, budding, and spores. Spores are the most common way of fungi to spread and reproduce, and cause illness. These spores end up in the air and the first places of contact are our skin and lungs.
(1.2) Common illnesses cause by fungi:
It is usually fungal spores that cause illness and infections, they can also cause a lot of respiratory problems. This is because they contain something called “allergens” and these can trigger a range of symptoms, similar to hay-fever, for example: runny nose, congestion, sore throat and a cough, and earache.
Fungi can cause three different types of human illness:
Poisoning: Eating a poisonous mushroom, the spores and toxins from the mushroom can then cause a number of symptoms including: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, headaches, and hallucinations.
Infections: This can be caused by coming into contact with the spores and not knowing. This can also cause symptoms including: itching, sore/ inflamed patches on the skin, and an unpleasant smell (for example you can get this with athletes foot)
Yeast (sometimes parasitic): Again this can be caused by spores coming into contact with the skin and this can the cause things like ringworm and athletes foot. We also have natural yeasts in the body that can become “parasitic” and lead to infection, this is how thrush happens.
A parasite is an organism which lives off of another organism. Ways parasites can reproduce are:
Laying eggs (this is what worms do)
They can also duplicate themselves like bacteria.
(1.2) Common illnesses caused by parasites:
Parasites vary in size from tiny one – celled organisms, similar to bacteria, these are called protoza, to worms which you can see. Parasites can be transferred in lots of ways. One common way is through contaminated water.
Examples of parasites:
Stomach and gut worms – thread worms/ hook worms,
Skin mites – scabies,
Hair/ body lice – head lice/ pubic lice.
(sometimes its easy to see where parasites have been because the cause redness/ irritation to the skin).
Some examples of disease and illness caused by parasites:
Giardiasis: – This is a parasitic infection caused by the “protoza” getting into the small intestine.
Very sever, or long lasting, diarrhoea,
Abdominal cramping and pain,
Fatigue/ feeling weak,
Severe weight loss.
Hook worm infection: – (common in warmer climates like the Caribbean)
This is a tiny worm that sucks blood from the human host. It is curable but if there is more than one then it can become extremely serious very quickly. They live in the small intestine of the infected host.
Anaemia (lack of iron),
Diarrhoea or constipation.
Parasites cause a lot of infections and diseases. A few more examples are:
Toxoplasmosis: (This is found in undercooked meat especially venison, lamb and pork). Toxoplasmosis can be fatal and cause birth defects if someone catches it when pregnant. It can also be transmitted through cat faeces, for example if you are cleaning out a cat litter tray.
It can show no signs or symptoms, most people don’t know they have it and symptoms tend to be flu like:
Muscle aches/ pains,
Swollen lymph nodes, especially in the neck.
These symptoms last for up to a month and usually resolve themselves.
What’s the difference?:
Bacteria are made up of just one cell and are capable of reproducing themselves.
Viruses cannot multiply on their own so they need a “host” cell or something to feed off of.
Fungi are spread by spores and do not need a host to reproduce. Common types of fungi are: yeast and mould.
Parasites are organisms that live of of other organisms or the host by living off of its “expense”
(1.3) Describe what is meant by infection and colonisation:
Infection means the organism appears causing some sort of illness. Colonisation means that the organism is present in the body but causes no illness or harm.
(1.4) Explain what is meant by systemic infection and localised infection:
This is when an infection has been spread around the body to different systems, or several organs, like the digestive tract and circulatory system.
An infection confined or “local” to one area of the body, an example of this is an infected wound.
(1.5) Identify poor practice which might lead to spread of infection:
Poor practice likely to spread infection:
Not washing hands/ poor hygiene,
Lack of or incorrect use of personal protective equipment (PPE),
Air born germs (cold and flu),
Lack of or poor cleaning facilities/ procedures.
We carry millions of germs on our hands, most of which are harmless, but some can cause colds and flu and diarrhoea. These can spread easily to other people ,and vice versa. This can also cause contamination of food. Many people may not wash their hands during a day, especially on a busy day, and have then left whatever germs or on their hands on something you then pick up. Common places you find germs are:
Work/ counter tops.
If the correct methods of cleaning are not used, it can make a safe home dangerous. It is important to have correct methods of cleaning to then stop the transmission of germs from one place to another. For example, you walk on a carpet that hasn’t been cleaned in a while, this might only be the difference of a day or two, you are then walking and spreading the germs everywhere else in your work environment. It is also important that cleaning products like mop heads are disposed of correctly to stop the re-spreading of germs.
(1.6) Identify how an understanding of poor practices can be applied to own professional practices:
Poor practice causes the spread of infection. Therefore by following the correct hygiene procedures you are helping prevent the spread of germs.
(2.1) Explain the conditions needed for the growth of micro-organisms:
To spread/ multiply they need:
Moisture – Slightly wet or damp, Somewhere like the corner of a room.
Nutrients – Food, undercooked meats.
Temperature – Somewhere warm.
Time – For spores to “breed” and spreading
(2.2) Explain ways in which an infective agent might enter the body:
Droplets: if someone sneezes or coughs near you, or just talks to you, this is then passed on through the air via “droplets”
Direct contact: via bodily fluids, for example you haven’t got any gloves on, you have an open cut on your hand, and your doing personal care on someone.
(2.3) Identify common sources of infection:
(2.4) Explain how infective agents can be transmitted to a person
Through lack of hand washing, again, germs on hands. If you’ve sneezed and not washed your hands and then handle food this is a way of passing it on to someone else. Coming into work when ill, this is another way of passing on something especially when working with vulnerable people who may have weakened immune systems, you can also then pass it on to staff with something as simple as just greeting them when you walk into work (the germs coming out of your mouth will be carrying whatever you have that is making you ill)
(2.5) Identify the key factors that will make it more likely for infection to occur:
Age: younger or older people are more likely to have weakened immune systems, if you’re younger your still developing and if you’re older certain things will stop working as well making you more vulnerable.
Well being: (physically and psychologically) This can also include underlying health issues/ illnesses like diabetes. If you already have an infection, you may be more likely to catch another on top because your immune system is already fighting off what is already there making you weaker and more vulnerable.
Medical treatments/ therapies and medication:
Again, because your immune system is working hard, or your body is getting used to new treatments, you may be more likely to catch something else. There can also be side effects to certain medication, for example, flu like symptoms.
(2.6) Discuss the role of an national public health body in communicable disease outbreaks:
It is the job of the Public Health England (PHE) to protect and improve the nations health and well being, most importantly the PHE is to protect the public from infectious disease outbreaks.
An outbreak is the occurrence of something unwelcome or not expected, usually widespread within a specific area. In this case, infections/ viruses. An outbreak happens when a disease occurs in larger numbers than usually expected. In some cases, with rare diseases like polio and diphtheria, this can just be one person that is infected.
During an outbreak it is the PHE’s, or any health organisations, job to find a way of “taming” the disease/ infection. Control measures are usually put in place to prevent further spread or recurrence of any infection.