8 Types of common infectious diseases

Infectious diseases

Infectious diseases are caused by microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites and can spread directly or indirectly from one person to another while others are transmitted by bites from insects or animals.

There are also others which are acquired by ingesting contaminated food or water or being exposed to organisms in the environment.

Each infectious disease has its own specific signs and symptoms

Common infectious diseases 

1. Common cold

A common viral infection that affects the nose, ear and throat. Symptoms of the common cold include cough, sore throat, sneezing, and a runny nose.

2. Flu (influenza)

This is a common viral infection that can be deadly, especially in high-risk groups. The flu attacks the lungs, nose and throat.

Young children, older adults, pregnant women and people with chronic disease or weak immune systems are at high risk.

Symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, congestion, runny nose, headaches and fatigue.

3. Hepatitis B

This is a serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) mainly spread sexually. Transmission of the virus is via blood, semen, saliva, broken skin around the mouth, genitals, or rectum.

Symptoms are variable and include yellowing of the eyes, abdominal pain and dark urine.

4. Malaria

Malaria is one of the most common infectious diseases in Kenya, it is spread by the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Once an infected mosquito bites you, the parasites multiply in your liver before infecting and destroying red blood cells.

Symptoms include fever, aches, and nausea. Read more

5. Pneumonia

Infection that inflames air sacs in one or both lungs, which may fill with fluid or pus. It’s commonly a complication of a respiratory infection—especially the flu.

Typically symptoms include some combination of productive or dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing.

6. Strep throat

A bacterial infection that causes inflammation and pain in the throat. The infection is generally transmitted by direct contact with the mucus or sores of someone else with strep.

Common symptoms include sore throat, fever and swollen lymph nodes in the neck.

7. Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is a highly contagious and potentially serious disease caused by bacteria that mainly affects your lungs. It can also affect other parts of the body.

Most people infected with the bacteria that cause tuberculosis don’t have symptoms.

When symptoms do occur, they usually include a cough (sometimes blood-tinged), weight loss, night sweats and fever. Read more

8. Urinary tract infection

An infection in any part of the urinary system, the kidneys, bladder or urethra.

Symptoms include:

  • A burning feeling when you urinate
  • A frequent or intense urge to urinate, even though little comes out when you do
  • Pain or pressure in your back or lower abdomen
  • Cloudy, dark, bloody, or strange-smelling urine
  • Feeling tired or shaky
  • Fever or chills (a sign the infection may have reached your kidneys. Read more


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