It is so important for us to understand the “Big Six” methods of infection and the “Dirty 4” routes of transmission because you & I are the first line of defense. Our ignorant behaviors can enable rapid pathogenic infection within a large number of people in a very short timeline. Can we say, “Epidemic” or how about “Pandemic?”
This may seem extreme but our ignorance about this mode of transmission is how we “Pimp the Ride” for bacteria, fungi, and viruses to spread throughout the community and back to our homes.
The “Big Six” Methods of Infection
1. Coughing and Sneezing – Aerosolization
2. Diarrhea – Fecal Hand-to-Surface-to-Hand-to-Mouth route
3. Hostile Environments – Public restrooms, Hospital, care of our sick child in their bedroom, elevators, airplanes, waiting rooms, etc.
4. Poor Hand Hygiene Techniques – NOT washing hands “correctly” with soap for at least 22 seconds.
6. Touching the Face
The “Dirty 4” Routes of Pathogen Transmission
1) “Indirect” “Pimp My Ride” Routes of Transmission
Everyone needs to understand this “Indirect” transmission route of infection if we want the “How-We-Stop-Becoming-Sick” concept to cease being a concept and instead becomes a part of our lifestyle behaviors to protect our local communities from Epidemics.
Eating food prepared by sick kitchen staff or upon contaminated kitchen counter-tops or cross-contamination within food preparation areas. (Listeria, Campylobacter)
Petting dogs, cats, and birds. (Salmonella, Escherichia coli 0157)
Drinking water or eating food washed in contaminated water. (Cryptosporidium, Cholera)
Touching objects. (See list below)
List of Everyday Common Objects That Have the
Highest Concentrations of Illness Causing Pathogens
- Restroom doorknobs
- Toilet stall locking handles.
- Preparing raw meats and other foods on the same surfaces.
- Cell phones, IPods, MP3 players and the TV remote control.
- Books, pencils, crayons, balls and toys at school.
- The headrest area of Bus, Airplane, and Movie Theater seats.
- Office Desktops
- Computer keyboards and mouse
- Elevator buttons
- Light switches
- Shopping cart handles
- Restroom sink faucet handles
- Toilet flushing handles
- Hospital room privacy curtain
- Hospitalize patient nurses-call-button
- Picnic Tables
- Escalator hand rails
- Pet Cages
Sponges, towels, rags and brushes can have more bad germs than the areas you are cleaning.
- Food prepared by Kitchen staff that have washed their hands before preparing food, but did not wash their hands between touching raw meats and then preparing salads or other uncooked entrees or side dishes.
Concentrations of Pathogens on Objects Found in an Office or School
- Phone – 25,000 PPSI (Pathogens per square inch)
- Desktop – 20,000 PPSI
- Computer keyboard – 3,200 PPSI
- Computer mouse – 1,600 PPSI
- Human hand 1,500 PPSI
- Fax Machine – 301 PPSI
- Office Copier – 70 PPSI
2) “Direct” Route of Transmission
This “Direct” vehicle of transmission (listed below) is when we have contact with “body fluids” of a sick or non-sick contagious person.
- Touching a sick person.
- Sexual contact.
- Shaking hands with other people.
- Putting fingers in mouth, nose, vagina, ear, or rectum.
- Accidental cuts or abrasions with contaminated objects.
3) “Airborne” Route of Transmission
The following list is of Bacteria, Fungi, and Viruses and how they fly to you.
- Respiratory Droplets- All over the world, people are familiar with the number one method of “Airborne” transmission, Coughing and Sneezing. Some of these airborne droplets can stay afloat for up to 2 hours allowing a person to inhale pathogen through the mouth or skin. These droplets can carry many pathogens but the two most famous are Influenza and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
- Dust Particles found in Hospitals, the office, and our homes could be infected with Staphylococcus aureus.
- Spores fly through our windows and doors to find us. (Clostridium difficile and Aspergillus)
- Water spray from public water fountains that kids play in on hot summer days, air conditioner systems, and a gym or health club shower area ( coli, Legionella pneumophila).
- Another example would be the elevator because it is a poorly ventilated small confined space containing captive people who cannot escaped when someone coughs, sneezes, or breathes upon them.
“An elevator would be a more hazardous place than a public washroom,” says James Scott, Microbiologist, University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health.
4) “Arthropods” Route of Transmission
What are Arthropods? Well they are innocent looking bugs but can be quite damaging to our health if we allow them to co-exist with us in our homes. Flies and Mosquitoes (Malaria, VHF’s) are the two most infamous deadly bugs of all time. These two dangerous arthropods should have our fearful respect and we should “declare war” on their presence in our home environment.
Other arthropods bugs, fleas (Pediculosis), lice, midges, mites, and ticks (Lymes disease, VHF’s). Biting, burrowing, sucking, and leaving their shitty droppings on food we eat are how Arthropod-borne pathogens are transmitted to humans from arthropods. Diseases include Scabies, (lice), Malaria and VHF’s).