Every disease has certain weak points susceptible to attack. Here, the basic approach controlling the infectious disease is to identify three weak points and break the weakest links in the chain of transmission. Whenever an infectious disease occurs, following necessary steps should be followed to prevent and control the spread of the disease.
1. Early diagnosis:
Early identification or diagnosis is the first step in the control of a communicable disease. Early diagnosis is required for the treatment of patient’s investigations and to study the time, place and person distribution and for the institution of preventive and control measures.
It means immediate intimation to the local health authority regarding the occurrence of infectious disease. It is the responsibility of the local health authority to put into operation control measures, medical care to the patients as far as possible. Thus, it enables to prevent the spread of infection. Notification of infectious disease is often made by the attending physicians, head of the family, neighbors, head of the institution etc. In all cases, the diagnosis is verified by the local health authority.
It means separating the patient from healthy individuals to prevent or limit the direct or indirect transmission of the infectious agent, which may spread the agent to others. The purpose of isolation is to protect the community by preventing transfer or infection from the source to the possible susceptible hosts. The type and nature of isolation varies with the mode of spread and severity of the disease. Isolation can be done in two ways- at home called ‘house isolation’ and hospital isolation in case of infectious diseases.
Quarantine has been defined as “the limitation of freedom of movement of such persons and exposed to communicable disease for a period of time, so as to prevent effective contact with those not so exposed. Quarantine may be of three types: (a) absolute quarantine; (b) modified quarantine e.g. a selective partial limitation of freedom of movement such as exclusion of children from school and (c) segregation means the separation for special consideration to facilitate control of a communicable disease e.g. removal of susceptible children to home of immune persons.
Another step in controlling the spread of an infectious disease is to educate the people about the disease Health education should be given regarding how it spread, how to prevent and what steps to be taken to control its spread. It can be given though showing pictures, posters, films, slides, telling stories or through various advertisements etc. in rural areas for better understanding.