The Open University since 2006
Alternatively you can skip the navigation by pressing 'Enter'.
Sleuths, Spies & Sorcerers: Andrew Marr’s Paperback Heroes: FantasyTuesday, 25th October 2016 02:50 - BBC FourWhat set of writing conventions govern fantasy novels by the likes of George RR Martin? Andrew Marr explores... Read more: Sleuths, Spies & Sorcerers: Andrew Marr’s Paperback Heroes: Fantasy
All in the Mind - Autumn/Winter 2016: Tasers, Amnesia Museum, The dangers of diagnosing Donald TrumpTuesday, 25th October 2016 21:00 - BBC Radio 4
All in the Mind - Autumn/Winter 2016: Tasers, Amnesia Museum, The dangers of diagnosing Donald TrumpWednesday, 26th October 2016 15:30 - BBC Radio 4
Sleuths, Spies & Sorcerers: Andrew Marr’s Paperback Heroes: FantasyWednesday, 26th October 2016 23:00 - BBC Four
Sleuths, Spies & Sorcerers: Andrew Marr’s Paperback Heroes: FantasyAvailable until Friday, 25th November 2016 23:00What set of writing conventions govern fantasy novels by the likes of George RR Martin? Andrew Marr explores... Read more: Sleuths, Spies & Sorcerers: Andrew Marr’s Paperback Heroes: Fantasy
Inside The Commons: Reinventing The HouseAvailable until Saturday, 29th October 2016 19:00
The Bottom Line: Autumn 2016: Activist investorsAvailable for over a year
BBC Inside Science - 2016/2017 series: HFC Ban; Human Cell Atlas; Origin of Hunting with DogsAvailable for over a year
The Great British YearThe definitive portrait of the spectacular nature of the country over the course of one year. Read more: The Great British Year
Take the photographic memory testCan you capture scenes just by looking at them? Find out with our photographic memory test. Launch now: Take the photographic memory test
The business of footballWelcome to this free course, The business of football, produced by The Open University working in... Try: The business of football now
English: skills for learningEnglish: skills for learning, is a free course for anybody who is thinking of studying for a... Try: English: skills for learning now
This free course, Public health approaches to infectious disease, reviews the current global burden of infectious disease, the public health strategies that are reducing the impact of some major infections and the challenges facing national and international organisations in preventing illness and death caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- define and use, or recognise definitions and applications of, each of the glossary terms for the course
- summarise the main features of the current global burden of infectious disease and the public health movement that has evolved to reduce its impact, emphasising the contributions of epidemiology, water quality, sanitation and hygiene, global infectious disease surveillance networks, and evidence-based interventions such as vaccination programmes
- use appropriate examples and interpret unfamiliar examples presented to you, to illustrate successful public health strategies that: use education to support behavioural changes that enable people to protect themselves, their children or other community members from infection; promote resistance to infection in the human host; isolate a source of infection to prevent it from being passed on; tackle an environmental source of infection
- consider a range of public health strategies, including unfamiliar examples, and identify the levels of prevention (primary, secondary, tertiary) involved in their implementation
- use or analyse examples of public health interventions to illustrate the importance of international and national prevention programmes, community participation and community health workers in controlling infectious disease.
- Learning outcomes
- 1 The global burden of infectious disease
- 2 The public health approach
- 2.1 Threats to public health from urbanisation and industrialisation
- 2.2 Public health surveillance and response in a globalised world
- 2.3 Public health interventions
- 3 Levels of infectious disease prevention
- 4 Public health successes in controlling infectious disease
- 4.1 Vaccination revisited
- Current section: 4.2 The importance of hygiene
- 4.3 Community action against infectious diseases
- 5 The guinea worm eradication campaign
- 5.1 The human cost of guinea worm disease
- 5.2 Falling trends in guinea worm disease
- 5.3 The guinea worm transmission cycle
- 5.4 Eradication through community action
- 6 The Millennium Development Goals, infectious disease and public health
- Questions for the course
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
4.2 The importance of hygiene
In public health parlance, hygiene behaviour encompasses the wide range of actions taken by individuals to maintain a standard of cleanliness of their bodies, domestic environments and workplaces to prevent the transmission of infection. It includes all the personal actions associated with excretion and the disposal of human and animal waste and refuse, the washing of persons, clothing, implements and structures (e.g. floors, lavatories and latrines), the handling of domestic animals, and the preparation of food.
When clean water and sanitation were installed in London in the nineteenth century, the epidemics of cholera that had claimed thousands of lives rapidly came under control. However, typhoid fever continued to be a problem for several more decades. The eventual reduction in typhoid was ascribed to the increasing availability of piped water and soap inside domestic households, the safe disposal of waste water from houses, and the increasing social imperative for personal hygiene.
Name another infection that can be controlled by personal hygiene.
You might have thought of typhus, because frequent washing of the body and clothing reduces the frequency of its vector, the human body louse. Washing can also reduce the transmission of the mites causing scabies, an infectious inflammation of the skin.
Personal hygiene can also alleviate some of the suffering caused by secondary infections of inflamed tissues. For example, careful washing and drying reduces the secondary bacterial infections which often colonise the inflamed skin folds of people with elephantiasis resulting from the blockage of lymphatic vessels by filarial worms (Figure 10).
However, although personal hygiene is a matter for the individual, it also requires the provision of certain infrastructures (e.g. covered wells, water mains), the means to purchase certain goods (e.g. soap, domestic cleaning agents) and a culture that is supportive of personal, domestic and public cleanliness. These are all in short supply in the poorest parts of the world.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Thursday, 3rd March 2016
Last updated on: Thursday, 3rd March 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
If you enjoyed this, why not follow a feed to find out when we have new things like it? Choose an RSS feed from the list below. (Don't know what to do with RSS feeds?)
Remember, you can also make your own, personal feed by combining tags from around OpenLearn.
All our alternative formats are free for you to download, for more information about the different formats we offer please see our FAQs. The most frequently used are Word (for accessibility), PDF (for print) and ePub and Kindle to download to eReaders*.
- Word (4.4 MB)
- PDF (77 KB)
- ePub 3.0 (49.3 MB)
- ePub 2.0 (3.8 MB)
- Kindle (1.1 MB)
- RSS (480 KB)
- HTML (49.2 MB)
- SCORM (49.2 MB)
- OUXML Package (60 KB)
- OUXML File (192 KB)
- IMS Common cartridge
*Please note you will need an ePub and Mobi reader for these formats.