Infectious diseases are caused by living organisms, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi; infections can be spread, directly or indirectly, from person to person. Examples include ebola, hepatitis A, B and C, influenza, malaria, measles, SARS and tuberculosis (TB).
Approximately 2 billion people are infected with the hepatitis B virus, making it the most infectious disease in the world today.
Many infections are preventable through vaccination - the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that vaccinations prevent 2 to 3 million deaths each year.
Pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges and spreads globally and to which there is very little or no pre-existing immunity. In this way pandemic influenza is different from ‘ordinary’ seasonal flu, which for most people is not life-threatening.
The Department of Health is working to support NHS preparedness and to reduce the impact of pandemic flu on the UK population. Within Dudley the Office of Public Health is working with other partner agencies to ensure that the area is prepared for the onset of any pandemic.