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How many ilnesses can be transferred....?

How many illnesses are transferred externally via the hands? I'm doing a project for my AH biology and can't find anywhere that will give me a figure to include in my introduction- i also need a link to where the answer is to include as a reference. Also if anyone has and links that may be useful to my project on the most effective hand hygiene methods please post them :)

1 Answer

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer


    Hand washing after restroom use can help stop the spread of fecal-oral transmission of diseases. This type of transmission affects salmonella, hepatitis A, giardiasis (sometimes called "beaver fever") and other bacteria-borne diseases. Since the smallest of fecal particles can spread the disease, hand washing is paramount.


    Microorganisms can be indirectly spread from respiratory disease through the hands. Influenza, streptococcus and the common cold can all be kept from transmission by careful hand washing.


    Many diseases can be transmitted by hand touching even though the primary transmission is through urine, mucus or saliva. Diseases transmitted secondarily, which can be stopped from spreading through proper hand washing, include typhus, staphylococcal organisms and the Epstein-Barr virus.


    Wisconsin Dept of Health Services: Hand Washing

    Mayo Clinic: Hand Washing, An Easy Way to Prevent Infection


    Noroviruses cause gastrointestinal infections. Common symptoms of noroviruses are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. Noroviruses are transmitted via the fecal-oral route and spread quickly through large groups of people in close quarters, such as cruise ships, military barracks and day care centers. Norovirus spread can be prevented by thorough hand washing after using the bathroom or changing diapers of a person infected with the disease. Frequent hand washing when in close contact with others, along with avoiding touching your nose and mouth, decreases your chance of becoming infected.

    Noroviruses can also be spread by people with the virus handling food and not washing their hands after using the bathroom. Food won't taste or smell unusual, so there's no way to know it's infected.


    Many infections are transmitted to hospital patients from other patients or staff members by poor hand washing techniques. If hospital staff members don't wash between patients, they carry bacteria and viruses from one patient to another. Some difficult to eradicate types of nosocomial infections include methcillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), clostridium difficile (c diff) and Vancomycin resistant enterocci (VRE). Escherichia coli (E. coli) and pseudomonas are also commonly encountered nosocomial infections.

    Approximately 10 percent of hospital patients are infected with a nosocomial infection during their stay, reports Stephen Abedon, Ph.D of the Ohio State University at Mansfield Department of Microbiology, and 20,000 people in the United States die from them each year.


    Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Airborne and Direct Contact Disease

    Centers for Disease Control: Norovirus

    Centers for Disease Control: Seasonal Influenzas

    Ohio State University at Mansfield: Nosocomial Infections; Stephen Abedon, Ph.D

    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease: Hepatitis A

    What types of disease can good hand washing prevent?

    Diseases spread through fecal-oral transmission. Infections which may be transmitted through this route include salmonellosis, shigellosis, hepatitis A, giardiasis, enterovirus, amebiasis, and campylobacteriosis. Because these diseases are spread through the ingestion of even the tiniest particles of fecal material, hand washing after using the toilet cannot be over-emphasized.

    Diseases spread through indirect contact with respiratory secretions. Microorganisms which may be transmitted through this route include influenza, Streptococcus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and the common cold. Because these diseases may be spread indirectly by hands contaminated by respiratory discharges of infected people, illness may be avoided by washing hands after coughing or sneezing and after shaking hands with an individual who has been coughing and sneezing.

    Diseases may also be spread when hands are contaminated with urine, saliva or other moist body substances. Microorganisms which may be transmitted by one or more of these body substances include cytomegalovirus, typhoid, staphylococcal organisms, and Epstein-barr virus. These germs may be transmitted from person to person or indirectly by contamination of food or inanimate objects such as toys. (third link)

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