Main » Infectious diseases » Infections Acquired through the Skin and Mucous Membranes
The infective agents include viruses, bacteria, protozoa, helminths and arthropods. In one group, transmission of infection is by contact with contaminated persons or objects. In the other group, infection may be acquired by exposure to infected soil (hookworm), water (schistosomiasis, leptospirosis), by the bites of animals (rabies) or through wounds (tetanus). The mode of transmission may be by direct, or by indirect contact.
The smallpox eradication campaign organised by the World Health Organisation has now resulted in the disappearance of the disease. Yaws is now almost a curiosity although sporadic cases still occur. Trachoma however remains an important blinding disease although considerable progress in its control has been made in the Middle East. The venereal diseases are more important in the tropics than has hitherto been appreciated, while the non-venereal treponematoses are widely distributed in the world. The greatest concentration of leprosy is in the Indian sub-continent (three million) while the highest prevalence rates are in Africa (about 100 per 1000). One fifth of the estimated 15 million cases are under treatment. Europe has 52000 (mainly in Southern Europe), and over 900 patients have been notified in England since 1951.
A wide variety of fungi infect skin, hair and nails without deeper penetration of the host tissues. Other fungi cause deep mycoses that can result in some of the most disfiguring lesions seen in clinical medicine.
» Lymphogranuloma venereum
» Herpes simplex
» Mycobacterium ulcerans and Other Tropical Ulcers
» Granuloma Inguinale (Donovanosis)
» Non-venereal Treponematoses
» Primary Amoebic Meningo-Encephalitis
» The superficial mycoses
» The systemic mycoses