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Communicable Disease: Children

  • By: Mary Ruth Griffin
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Communicable or infectious diseases are responsible for killing millions of people every year. At this time in history they take their greatest toll on individuals in impoverished and developing countries. Young children are often the most susceptible members of any population group in part due to their immature immune systems and poor hygienic practices.

To become a communicable disease, an infectious agent must be capable of successful transmission from person to person. Disease results from the presence of pathogenic (disease-causing) microbial agents: viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and multicellular parasites or their toxins within human tissues. Transmission of infections can occur through direct or physical contact, indirect contact with nonliving objects, or droplet transmission such as sneezing or coughing. The incubation period, or the time interval between ...

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