Sources of Infectious Disease

Reservoirs of Infection

Once viruses leave the human body, they cannot survive long. Viruses are maintained at a site called reservoirs of infection. It is any person, animal, plant, soil or substance in which an infectious agent normally lives and multiplies. The reservoir typically harbors the infectious agent without injury to itself and serves as a source from which other individuals can be infected. The infectious agent primarily depends on the reservoir for its survival. It is from the reservoir that the infectious substance is transmitted to a human or another susceptible host.
There are 3 kinds of reservoirs and they are animal reservoirs, human reservoirs and non-living reservoirs.


Animal reservoirs

Zoonoses or Zoonotic diseases are any infectious disease that can be transmitted (in some instances, by a vector) from non-human animals, both wild and domestic, to humans or from humans to non-human animals. Humans can catch the virus via direct contact with animals, direct contact with the faeces, eating animals and via vector. These zoonoses can be emerging viruses. So what is emerging viruses? We will explain this clearly in the next post.



Human reservoirs

Infected individuals who are asymptomatic (a patient carries a disease or infection but experiences NO symptoms but infective to others) tends to look healthy and people do not know whether they carries a contagious disease. Some individuals will eventually develop illness while others never get sick.


Nonliving Reservoirs

Some of the examples of nonliving reservoirs are soil, water and food. The presence of microorganisms is often due to contamination by faeces or urine and the microorganisms are ingested by people like us inadvertently.

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