Infectious diseases- routes of transmission

Are you aware of the major transmission routes of infectious diseases? If you don’t know, there are 2 major routes of transmission of infectious diseases.  

Infectious diseases are caused by viruses, fungi, bacteria, and parasites. Routes of transmission of these infectious diseases can be through direct or indirect contact. Mild infections can heal on their own by rest and home remedies while in severe cases hospitalization is required.  

To prevent these infectious diseases, you need to be vaccinated, maintain healthy practices, and follow personal hygiene tips. Talk to a specialist for infectious diseases if you have any concerns.

Route of transmission of infectious diseases 

These infectious diseases spread through direct or indirect contact with pathogens/organisms that cause the infection.  

Direct contact  

When you make direct contact with the organism and get infected it is called the direct contact route. This is the most common route of spread. It includes: 

  1. Person-to-person contact: In this transmission modality, you make direct contact with the infected person. Transmission occurs when you touch or come in contact with their body fluids then chances are that you might get infected with the pathogen too. STDs (Sexually Transmitted Disease) and gastrointestinal infections are transmitted this way.  
  2. Droplet spread: These droplets are produced by infected people when they sneeze or cough. You can get infected even when the person speaks or comes in contact with objects and things where those droplets fall, as the pathogens/microbes survive longer than expected.  

Indirect contact 

When you did not make direct contact with the organism but got the infection through a source contaminated with the micro-organism it’s called the indirect contact route. It includes: 

  1. Airborne transmission: Some infectious agents can travel long distances in the air and survive for extended periods. So, you can catch an infectious disease even by breathing. 
  2. Contaminated objects: Some organisms can live short periods on objects but if you encounter the same object after the infected person touches it, chances are extremely high that you get an infection. Transmission happens when you touch your mouth, nose, or eyes after you touch the contaminated surface. Germs can spread through blood or medical supplies containing viruses and bacteria.  
  3. Animal-to-person contact: Some infectious diseases are transmitted from animals to people. This happens when an animal bites or scratches you or when you handle their waste (Such as the toxoplasma gondii parasite found in cat feces). Weak immune systems people and pregnant women should take extra care while disposing of cat litter or avoid them altogether.  
  4. Animal reservoirs: This transmission first happens to an animal and then transfers to humans. Zoonosis happens when diseases are transferred from animals to people. These diseases include –  
    • anthrax (happens from sheep) 
    • West Nile virus (happens from birds) 
    • Plague (happens from rodents) 
    • Rabies (happens from rodents and other mammals). 
  5. Food and drinking water: These infectious diseases can be transmitted through food and water. As it contains viruses and bacteria. E. coli is mostly transmitted through undercooked meat or improper handling of produce. Improper handling of canned foods can lead to botulism.  
  6. Vector-borne disease: Some zoonotic infectious agents are transmitted by insects which include mosquitoes, fleas, or ticks. These insects get infected when they feed on infected hosts such as birds, animals, and humans. Then, the disease is also transmitted to a new host when an insect bites. Malaria, West Nile Virus, and Lyme disease are some of them which spread this way. 
  7. Environmental reservoirs: Our environment’s natural resources such as soil, water, and vegetation contain infectious organisms that can easily transfer to people (Such as hookworm, which infects soil, and Legionnaire’s disease happens by water supplied from cooling towers and evaporative condensers).  
  8. Infectious diseases are spread by viruses, bacteria, and fungi present in our environment. Knowing the different routes of transmission of these infectious diseases can help you to prevent these diseases, especially for children, pregnant women, and immune comprised people who need to be incredibly careful from these infections as it is more harmful to them.  

Looking into treatment for infectious diseases, At Doral Health and Wellness, we have specialists for Infectious Diseases that can help you manage your condition. For more information, you can visit us at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 11212, or call us at 1-347-384-5690. You can also visit our website at or contact us at if you have any queries.