Examples Of Infectious Diseases Caused By Pathogens

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Pathogens are organisms that cause infectious diseases. Pathogens are also known as infectious agents and germs. When a pathogen enters and attacks a host, symptoms begin to appear. A host is a human who can carry a pathogen and become ill.

There are five main types of pathogens. In the workplace, viruses and bacteria are the most common causes of illness. Viruses are infectious agents that require a living host to replicate and thrive. Viruses cause viral infections. Bacteria are microscopic, single-celled organisms that support many forms of life. Most bacteria are harmless, but there are a few that can cause illness. Bacteria cause bacterial infections.

Examples of infectious diseases caused by pathogens:

  • Common Cold: Many viruses can cause the common cold. It is a viral infection that affects the nose and throat.
  • Influenza (flu): A contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It affects the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs.
  • Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): COVID-19 is a disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus. This virus is related to the coronavirus responsible for the SARS outbreak of 2003. Cases have ranged from mild symptoms to severe respiratory illness and death.
  • Norovirus: The norovirus is also known as the stomach flu. Norovirus is a common virus that is not related to the flu.
  • Measles: A highly contagious, serious disease that is caused by a virus. About 1 in 5 (20%) unvaccinated people in the U.S. who get measles are hospitalized.
  • Strep Throat: A mild bacterial infection that affects the throat and tonsils.
  • E. coli: Escherichia coli (E. coli) are bacteria found in the environment, food, and intestines of people and animals. Most strains of E. coli are harmless, but others can make you sick.

Infectious diseases

Infectious diseases are disorders caused by organisms — such as bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. Many organisms live in and on our bodies. They’re normally harmless or even helpful. But under certain conditions, some organisms may cause disease.

Some infectious diseases can be passed from person to person. Some are transmitted by insects or other animals. And you may get others by consuming contaminated food or water or being exposed to organisms in the environment.

Signs and symptoms vary depending on the organism causing the infection, but often include fever and fatigue. Mild infections may respond to rest and home remedies, while some life-threatening infections may need hospitalization.

Many infectious diseases, such as measles and chickenpox, can be prevented by vaccines. Frequent and thorough hand-washing also helps protect you from most infectious diseases.


Each infectious disease has its own specific signs and symptoms. General signs and symptoms common to a number of infectious diseases include:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Coughing

When to See a Doctor

Seek medical attention if you:

  • Have been bitten by an animal
  • Are having trouble breathing
  • Have been coughing for more than a week
  • Have severe headache with fever
  • Experience a rash or swelling
  • Have unexplained or prolonged fever
  • Have sudden vision problems

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