Avoiding Infectious Diseases

This information is useful for children and adults
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Why Yale Medicine?
  • As an academic medical center, Yale Medicine is at the forefront of testing, treating and diagnosing infectious diseases.
  • At Yale Medicine, we have an entire team dedicated to treating infectious disease.

There are all sorts of ways to get an infectious disease. They can pass from person to person. Insect or animal bites can transmit disease. Infectious diseases are also acquired by eating contaminated food or drinking dirty water, or being exposed to harmful organisms in the environment. These diseases can be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites and other micro-organisms.

Yale Medicine has a multidisciplinary team dedicated to testing, diagnosing and treating infectious diseases, ensuring that patients get the best possible care.

One of the most common infectious diseases is the seasonal flu. Symptoms last about seven to 10 days, then resolve on their own. The flu, like many infectious diseases, can range from mild to severe.

"Depending on the individual, it could be a more mild presentation of a couple days, just body aches and fever, up to and including complications like pneumonia, depending on the strain,” says Christine Ngaruiya, MD, assistant professor of global health and international emergency medicine in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Yale Medicine. “Also it depends on the patient's general health status.”

Other common infectious diseases in the United States include pneumonia, urinary tract infections and meningitis.

Due to concern over the Zika virus, which first emerged overseas but has been reported in the continental United States, travelers, especially pregnant women and women who wish to become pregnant, are urged to avoid visiting places where Zika virus is prevalent.

Clinical Trials

New treatments for many conditions are tested in clinical trials, which ultimately bring lifesaving new drugs and devices to the patients who need them most. By participating in a clinical trial, you may get access to the most advanced treatments for your condition, and help determine their benefits for future patients.