Infectious diseases

Infectious diseases are caused by living organisms, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi. Many infections can be spread from person to person through the air, close physical contact and touch.

Examples include:

  • Ebola
  • hepatitis A, B and C
  • flu
  • malaria
  • Norovirus
  • measles
  • SARS
  • tuberculosis (TB)

An A-Z listing of guidance on infectious diseases is available on the GOV.UK website.

You can also search for information on symptoms and treatment of specific diseases on the NHS.UK website.

Some general symptoms to be aware of include:

  • fever or chills
  • coughing and / or sneezing
  • aches and pains
  • feelings of tiredness or fatigue
  • digestive upset (such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea)

Contact your GP or NHS 111 if you are concerned about symptoms of an infection.

You can help to protect yourself and others from infectious diseases by:

  • getting vaccinated
  • practicing good hand hygiene
  • covering your mouth when you cough and / or sneeze
  • covering cuts
  • making sure food is properly cooked and stored
  • staying home if you are sick
  • when travelling abroad, being aware of any infections common to the area and remembering to use insect repellent to avoid being bitten

NHS.UK has a simple guide for parent and carers to help you decide whether to keep your child off school, nursery or playgroup when they're unwell.

The Guide for Parents and Carers of children from 0-5 common childhood illnesses will help you to care for your child at home, to know when to call the GP and when to contact the emergency services.