Fecal-oral route

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The "F-diagram" (feces, fingers, flies, fields, fluids, food), showing pathways of fecal-oral disease transmission. The vertical blue lines show barriers: toilets, safe water, hygiene and handwashing.

The fecal–oral route (or alternatively the oral–fecal route or orofecal route) is a route of transmission of a disease, when pathogens in fecal particles passing from one host are introduced into the oral cavity of another host. One main cause of fecal-oral disease transmission in developing countries is lack of adequate sanitation.

The process of transmission may be simple or involve multiple steps. Some examples of routes of fecal-oral transmission include:

  • water that has come in contact with feces (for example due to groundwater pollution from pit latrines) and is then inadequately treated before drinking;
  • food that has been prepared in the presence of fecal matter;
  • disease vectors, like houseflies, spreading contamination from inadequate fecal disposal such as open defecation;
  • poor or absent hand washing after using the toilet or handling feces (such as changing diapers)
  • poor or absent cleaning of anything that has been in contact with feces;
  • sexual practices that may involve oral contact with feces, such as anilingus, coprophilia or "ass to mouth".

The F-diagram explains transmission routes and barriers[edit]

The "F-diagram" was first proposed in a publication by Hesperian Foundation for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2005 and has been widely used in many other sanitation publications since then. It was set up in a way that fecal-oral transmission pathways are shown to take place via nouns that start with the letter F: fingers, flies, fields, foods, and fluids (fluids stands here for polluted water - be it polluted drinking water, surface water or groundwater).[1]

The F-diagram is also used to show how proper sanitation (in particular toilets, hygiene, handwashing) can act as effective barriers to the fecal-oral disease transmission pathways.

Diseases[edit]

Some of the diseases that can be passed via the fecal-oral route are:

Transmission of Helicobacter pylori by oral-fecal route has been demonstrated in murine models.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Conant, Jeff (2005). Sanitation and Cleanliness for a Healthy Environment (PDF). Berkely, California, USA: The Hesperian Foundation in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Sida. p. 6. 
  2. ^ Meyer EA (1996). Other Intestinal Protozoa and Trichomonas Vaginalis in: Baron's Medical Microbiology (Baron S et al., eds.) (4th ed.). Univ of Texas Medical Branch. (via NCBI Bookshelf) ISBN 0-9631172-1-1. 
  3. ^ Zuckerman AJ (1996). Hepatitis Viruses in: Baron's Medical Microbiology (Baron S et al., eds.) (4th ed.). Univ of Texas Medical Branch. (via NCBI Bookshelf) ISBN 0-9631172-1-1. 
  4. ^ Wang L, Zhuang H (2004). "Hepatitis E: an overview and recent advances in vaccine research". World J Gastroenterol 10 (15): 2157–62. PMID 15259057. 
  5. ^ a b c d Intestinal Parasites and Infection fungusfocus.com - Retrieved on 2010-01-21
  6. ^ Hale TL, Keusch GT (1996). Shigella in: Baron's Medical Microbiology (Baron S et al., eds.) (4th ed.). Univ of Texas Medical Branch. (via NCBI Bookshelf) ISBN 0-9631172-1-1. 
  7. ^ Giannella RA (1996). Salmonella:Epidemiology in: Baron's Medical Microbiology (Baron S et al., eds.) (4th ed.). Univ of Texas Medical Branch. (via NCBI Bookshelf) ISBN 0-9631172-1-1. 
  8. ^ Finkelstein RA (1996). Cholera, Vibrio cholerae O1 and O139, and Other Pathogenic Vibrios in: Baron's Medical Microbiology (Baron S et al., eds.) (4th ed.). Univ of Texas Medical Branch. (via NCBI Bookshelf) ISBN 0-9631172-1-1. 
  9. ^ Cellini et al. (1998). "Evidence for an oral-faecal transmission of Helicobacter pylori infection in an experimental murine model". APMIS 107(1–6): 477–484.