Disease transmission & control

Wherever there is a high density of people, and or frequent change of human traffic in enclosed environments, the risk of contamination and transmission of pathogenic micro-organisms is significant, e.g. hospitals, surgeries, hotels, public transport and schools. It is no longer sufficient to provide clean environments only, but it is also necessary to sanitize by lowering the microbial loads and reduce the risk of subsequent infections.


Obvious danger areas are hard contamination surfaces, like carpets, tiles, basins, baths, showers, taps, door handles, phones, light switches, mattresses, etc.


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Disease transmission diagram

The F-diagram of disease transmission and control (after Wagner & Laniox)


All sources of contamination must be managed in all the locations where they are generated. To improve hygiene, would need to address the management of excreta, sullage, drainage and solid waste at:

  • household (both formal and informal)
  • schools
  • semi-public places (e.g. hospitals)
  • public places (e.g. markets, train stations, etc.), and
  • refugee communities


Improved access to sanitation, and better hygienic practices have benefits that reach beyond the immediate household to the entire population. A reduction in infection and disease among some part of the population will reduce the risk of infection in others.