Fecal–oral route

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Fecal-oral route is a disease transmission pathway that involves the ingestion of pathogen-contaminated fecal matter. This can occur through direct contact with feces, or indirectly through contaminated food, water, or objects. The fecal-oral route is a common transmission method for many infectious diseases, including hepatitis A, polio, and cholera.

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The term "fecal-oral route" is derived from the process of transmission. "Fecal" refers to feces, the waste product of digestion, while "oral" refers to the mouth, which is the entry point for the pathogens into the body.

Transmission[edit | edit source]

The fecal-oral route of transmission can occur in several ways. Direct transmission can occur when an individual comes into contact with fecal matter and then touches their mouth. Indirect transmission can occur when fecal matter contaminates food, water, or objects that are then ingested. This can happen in a variety of settings, including households, childcare centers, and healthcare facilities.

Diseases[edit | edit source]

Many infectious diseases can be transmitted via the fecal-oral route. These include:

  • Hepatitis A: A viral liver disease that can cause mild to severe illness.
  • Polio: A highly infectious viral disease that primarily affects young children and can cause paralysis.
  • Cholera: An acute diarrheal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated.

Prevention[edit | edit source]

Prevention of fecal-oral transmission involves maintaining good hygiene practices. This includes regular hand washing, especially before eating and after using the toilet, safe food preparation, and access to clean water. Vaccination can also be an effective prevention method for some diseases transmitted via the fecal-oral route, such as hepatitis A and polio.

See also[edit | edit source]

Fecal–oral route Resources

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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD