Diseases and Pathogens
Concept: Vectors and Deficiency Diseases
- A living organism that transfers disease-causing organisms (i.e., pathogens) from infected persons to healthy persons is called a vector.
- The vectors carry pathogens that multiply in or on their bodies. These pathogens are then transferred to healthy persons when the vectors bite them.
Examples:Vectors are generally insects like mosquitoes, houseflies, ticks etc.
- The diseases caused by vectors are called vector-borne diseases.
- The prevalence of vector-borne diseases depends on the climate and weather of a place.
Examples:Malaria, dengue, yellow fever, encephalitis, etc.
Examples:In the rainy season, mosquitoes get favourable breeding grounds due to the accumulation of rainwater.
So, in the rainy season, people suffer from different mosquito-borne diseases.
Some common vector-borne diseases:
|S. No.||Vector||Name of the Disease|
|a)||Aedes mosquito||Chikungunya, Dengue, Yellow fever|
|c)||Black flies||Liver blindness|
|g)||Tsetse Fly||Sleeping sickness|
Prevention of vector-borne diseases:
We should take the following precautions to prevent the spread of vector-borne diseases—
- Use of insect repellents on clothes and skin.
- Regular tick checks on dogs, cats, cattle, and mice.
- Use of nets while sleeping to protect against mosquito bites.
- Washing and drying clothes after an outdoor visit.
- Removing leaf litters and woodpiles from the surroundings so that they do not become breeding grounds for insects.
- Preventing water to accumulate in the surroundings.
- Using disinfectants to control the spread of infections.
- Development of vaccines for protection against disease-causing pathogens.
Diseases that are caused by the lack of essential nutrients, especially vitamins and minerals, in one’s diet over a prolonged time are called deficiency diseases.
Vitamins and related deficiency diseases:
Vitamins are nutrients required in small quantities in our diet for the growth and development of our body.
1. Vitamin A
|Sources||Carrots, spinach, milk, egg, liver, fish and yellow fruits like papaya, mango.|
|Functions||Required for normal vision, reproduction, growth and healthy immune system of an individual.|
|Deficiency disease||Night blindness|
2. Vitamin B
Vitamin B is of different types, such as Vitamin B1, B2, B12 etc. The deficiency diseases depend on the type of Vitamin B a person lacks.
|Sources||Egg, meat, chicken, red meat, milk and cheese|
|Functions||Vitamin B ensures that the body's cells are functioning properly. They help convert food into energy and form new blood cells.|
3. Vitamin C
|Sources||Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, strawberries, pepper, etc.|
|Functions||Vitamin C is necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body cells and tissues. It also maintains our body’s immunity and protect us from catching infections frequently.|
|Deficiency disease||Scurvy, a disease that is characterised by bleeding gums and skin spots.|
4. Vitamin D
|Sources||Fatty fish, dairy products, cereals, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, etc.|
|Functions||Vitamin D plays an important role in calcium absorption, immune function, and protecting bones and muscles. It can be produced by our body when our skin is exposed to sunlight.|
|Deficiency disease||Rickets, which is characterised by weakening of bones, especially near the joints.|
5. Vitamin K
|Sources||Green leafy vegetables, fish, liver, meat, eggs.|
|Functions||Vitamin K is essential for blood coagulation..|
|Deficiency disease||The deficiency of Vitamin K causes delayed blood clotting.|
Mineral and related deficiency diseases:
Minerals are nutrients that are required by our body in specific amounts to carry out the different body functions.
|Sources||Salt and seafood.|
|Functions||Iodine is the most important element required for brain development. It is responsible for the production of hormones from the thyroid gland, which play a vital role in the metabolism of the body.|
|Sources||Red meat, spinach, poultry, etc.|
|Functions||Iron helps in the formation of haemoglobin, a red pigment that plays a vital role in the transport of oxygen in our body.|
|Deficiency disease||Anaemia is a condition in which blood cannot carry the required oxygen to tissues, which sometimes results in death if not detected timely.|
Prevention of deficiency diseases:
The following ways can prevent the deficiency diseases—
- Eating a balanced diet with the right amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals.
- Avoid overcooked or undercooked food.
- Avoid storing cut fruits and vegetables.
- Including fermented food and sprouts in the diet.
Fermented food: Food prepared by controlled microbial growth which is good for health such as cheese, salami, yogurt, etc.
Blood coagulation: The process by which blood thickens to form a blood clot. It prevents further blood loss during an injury.
Haemoglobin: The red pigment found in blood that helps in transporting oxygen to the tissues.
Hormones: Some chemical substances that are secreted by specific glands and travel to different parts of the body to regulate the functions of organs.
Did You Know?
- The deficiency of protein in the diet causes the disease Kwashiorkor. It is a severe form of malnutrition that occurs in children aged 5-7 years. The disease is characterised by swelling under the skin due to excess body fluids.
- Marasmus is another protein-deficiency disease that generally occurs in children below 5-7 years. This disease is mainly characterised by loss of muscle mass and fat. Children with this condition tend to be underweight.