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Contact transmission is the most common form of transmitting diseases and virus. There are two
types of contact transmission: direct and indirect.
Direct contact transmission occurs when there is physical contact between an infected person
and a susceptible person.
Indirect contact transmission occurs when there is no direct human-to-human contact. Contact
occurs from a reservoir to contaminated surfaces or objects, or to vectors such as mosquitoes,
flies, mites, fleas, ticks, rodents or dogs.
How do infections spread?
Direct contact infections spread when disease-causing microorganisms pass from the infected
person to the healthy person via direct physical contact with blood or body fluids. Examples of
direct contact are touching, kissing, sexual contact, contact with oral secretions, or contact with
Indirect contact infections spread when an infected person sneezes or coughs, sending
infectious droplets into the air. If healthy people inhale the infectious droplets, or if the
contaminated droplets land directly in their eyes, nose or mouth, they risk becoming ill.
Droplets generally travel between three and six feet and land on surfaces or objects including
tables, doorknobs and telephones. Healthy people touch the contaminated objects with their
hands, and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth.
What illnesses spread this way?
Many illnesses spread through contact transmission. Examples are chicken pox, common cold,
conjunctivitis (Pink Eye), Hepatitis A and B, herpes simplex (cold sores), influenza, measles,
mononucleosis, Fifth disease, pertussis, adeno/rhino viruses, Neisseria meningitidis and
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