Figure four illustrates a generalized infectious cycle. Two major concepts are demonstrated: the cycle itself and the points along the cycle where infectious disease can be prevented. The cycle begins when a host is infected by either a reservoir or a vector for the pathogen. The individual may infect other hosts in a population or new vectors. The pathogen may also cycle between the vector and a reservoir.
The infectious cycle may be interrupted and disease may be prevented at different points along the cycle. For example, direct person-to-person transmission may be inhibited by proper hygiene and sanitary conditions as well as education. Vector-borne diseases may be prevented by control measures that either kill the vector or prevent its contact with humans. Infection by a pathogen or development of a pathogen within a host may be prevented by vaccination. Finally, drugs may be used to prevent infection or suppress the disease process.
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