“Communicable Diseases” are common among people these days. You may blame it upon the pollution or the lack of sanitation or hygiene, a disease can disrupt your body functions and make you suffer a lot.
There are various kinds of diseases basically divided into two categories, communicable and non communicable diseases. What are communicable diseases? Why are we even discussing about them? Are they so significant? Do we really need to study? Here is the answer to all of your questions, so please keep reading.
Well, your research and curiosity has brought you here with us on our article on communicable diseases. We hope to provide with the best of the knowledge!
What Are Communicable Diseases?
We know that several types of diseases exist in the world. They can be as dangerous as cancer, diabetes, tuberculosis, pneumonia and mental retardation, whereas, on the other hand, they can be as simple as mild fever and stomach ache.
Watch This Communicable Diseases Video to Understand them in Detail
But, what is a communicable disease? We shall explain you.
Can tuberculosis spread from one person to another? Yes! And, can stomach ache spread from one person to another? Obviously, no! But, why is this so? What are the basic criteria for such distinction?
How do we come to know that the stomach ache will not spread, but Tuberculosis can? We catch only some diseases, and we don’t even think why.
Communicable diseases are the diseases which can be spread from one person to the other. It can also spread from infected animals. The transfer of the infection can occur through air, water, surfaces which are contaminated or through the direct contact.
The direct contact can be through the body fluids. To make this easy, let me give you an easy example of the most common disease, cough and cold.
At home, if any one family member catches cold, the other is very likely to catch the infection, and eventually the whole family suffers from cold one by one consecutively.
This relayed process is showing a communicable disease, which is constantly being transferred from the infected person through cough or sneezing droplets, or through any other transmission way.
Such diseases are caused by the pathogens and are easily transmitted from the infected person to the healthy person. The pathogens are fungi, bacteria, protozoa or viruses.
But, it is important to note that there are still some diseases which are caused by these pathogens, but are not communicable.
Some examples of communicable diseases are rabies, HIV, malaria, pneumonia, and influenza and athletes foot.
Communicable Diseases Definition
Every scientific term has a proper definition, which is accepted universally. Communicable disease explanation can be put into proper words through a single definition-
“Communicable disease is a disease that is transmitted through direct contact with an infected individual or indirectly through a vector.”
It is also termed as a contagious disease. The pathogens release the toxic products which intervene in the major metabolic pathways of our body and hence, deter our body from functioning.
Types of Communicable Diseases
Classification helps to study the research topic more deeply, and thus, the “communicable diseases” is a vast topic for discussion, which takes under itself the numerous diseases!
- Contact Communicable diseases: examples are scabies, pediculosis, fleas, bedbugs, acute bacterial conjunctivitis etc.
- Sexually transmitted and HIV/AIDS vector borne communicable diseases: bancroftian filariasisn onchocerciasis, yellow fever, relapsing fever, schistosomiasis etc.
- Diseases caused by the faecal matter through oral contamination: amoebiasis, cholera, food poisoning, poliomyelitis etc.
- Helminthic diseases: don’t be scared by the name. These communicable diseases are caused by the helminths or parasitic worms. For example, Ascariasis, enterobiasis, hookworm etc.
- Air borne diseases: acute respiratory infections, meningitis, tuberculosis etc.
Further, the communicable diseases are also classified on the basis of the causal organisms, the type of illness caused and the characterisation of symptoms. They are also classified according to the means of transmission- direct or indirect, which has further sub categories.
Most Common Communicable Diseases
Some very common communicable diseases are listed below:
- Common cold
This communicable disease is very common! People all over the world have about more than 16 billion colds each year. Children are sensitive and thus, suffer from repeated colds. It is a viral infection, and is easily transmitted.
One can catch cold due to sudden changes in the environment- which may be external or internal. Or, it can be transmitted from the infected person to the healthy person through direct or indirect contact.
It is another very common communicable disease which is spread by any contact- either by sharing eatables or drinking from the utensils which are contaminated or used by the infected person.
This disease is viral and the causal organisms are rotavirus and norovirus. The symptoms can last from a few days to about 10 days.
- Pink Eye
It is a form of conjunctivitis caused by the bacteria or virus. The virus which is responsible for causing the common cold is the virus which spreads the pink eye communicable disease. The bacterial species which causes this disease is streptococcus or staphylococcus.
The prevention methods of this disease include avoiding any contact with the eyes, and no rubbing. Always use fresh towels and clothes.
It is a sexually transmitted communicable disease which is caused by bacteria.
It is a viral infection of liver and causes life threatening outcomes. There are three types of this communicable disease- hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Out of these, hepatitis B is dominant and prevalent.
- Whooping Cough
It is a highly communicable disease which causes the infection in all ages- whether a child or an adult. The common symptoms are runny nose, fever, cough and respiratory infection.
HIV stands of human immunodeficiency virus and AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency syndrome. HIV is found in the human body fluids such as semen, vaginal fluid or the blood of the infected person.
The transmission is through the unprotected sex or if the contaminated needles are used by people or syringes.
List of Communicable Diseases
Few diseases are very popular in India, List of some common communicable diseases are:
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) like HIV
Other than these, there are many other known as well as unknown communicable diseases troubling the society. So, we should try our best to stay away from all such communicable diseases by taking adequate preventive measures against them.
Causes of Communicable Diseases
We should know the cause of communicable diseases to work upon the prevention and control. What are the causes? How the communicable diseases find their way to infect the healthy people?
There are several things to blame upon, and if you know the risk factors, you can easily save yourself from being their victim.
- The major transmission is through the body fluids. These body fluids are blood, semen or vaginal fluids. Communicable diseases spread through unprotected sex, sharing the infected needles (for instance, during drug abuse) or blood transfusions.
- Even the modern artwork such as tattoo and piercings can be fatal. These diseases can also spread from the mother to the child in their womb or through breastfeeding.
- You can avoid such encounter if you maintain sanitation and hygiene. Causes of communicable diseases involves many things so wash your hands properly after using the rest room. Have protected and safe sex. Use clean needles and syringes.
- Direct or indirect causes of communicable diseases includes contact with a person infected from a communicable disease can be taken as a transmission mode. Direct contact is from skin to skin.The diseases such as ringworm and scabies spread in this way.
- Indirect contact is through the foreign entities which enter our body through inhaling the droplets of cough or sneeze, or even spitting.You can prevent such transfer by keeping sanitation and hygiene, and not interacting with the infected person directly.
- Airborne diseases are communicable and spread by means of air. The pathogens are also the part of causes of communicable disease as they are suspended in the air and can make any healthy person sick when inhaled.
Signs And Symptoms Of Communicable Diseases
Each disease is characterised by its own set of symptoms and thus, the communicable diseases listed below have the following symptoms:
- Influenza has symptoms of fever, constant coughing and sneezing, sore throat and runny nose, the whole body aches and becomes restless, fatigue and low feeling
- Chickenpox comes with fever, fatigue, vesicles on the body, itchiness, fatigue.
- Gastroenteritis comes with pain in the abdomen (from mild to severe), vomits, feeling of nausea, loss of appetite, fever and tiredness.
- Acute conjunctivitis with the redness of eyes, itching in the eyes, tears streaming down and any secretion from the eyes which is not normal and usual.
- Flu symptoms are fever or headache. Common cold is accompanied with sore throat, coughing, sneezing and blocked nose.
- Ringworm shows the presence of some red coloured ring shaped scaly rashes. They are itchy and spread more as you rub or scratch.
- Hepatitis A is shown by the symptoms of fever, headache, loss of appetite, nauseated feeling and weakness
- Mumps is characterised by fever, swelling and tenderness of the salivary glands
- Whooping cough has the symptoms such as irritating cough which turns into violent cough.
Chronic Communicable Diseases
Generally chronic diseases are non communicable diseases. But, there are chronic communicable diseases which are extremely fatal and life threatening. AIDS, Hepatitis B, herpes simplex and cytomegalovirus (CMV) are highly communicable and chronic.
CMV is a communicable disease which is caused by a virus, and is spread through the body fluids. This disease can also spread from an infected pregnant mother to the child. The effects are very severe and lead to hearing impairment, mental retardation or visual impairment.
Hepatitis B is another severe illness which is connected to the liver cancer. The symptoms are fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, joint pains and jaundice. The transmission is through blood, from pregnant mother to child, through sexual contact or through a medium.
HIV virus of AIDS is highly dangerous and can destroy a person’s immune system. Due to this, the body loses the capacity to fight with the other diseases and thus, the person becomes prone to various other diseases.
AIDS symptoms resemble other diseases and poor immune response. They are prolonged fever, lymph node enlargement, night sweats, fungal infections and persistent cough.
HSV is another virus which causes a severe chronic disease. The blisters erupt in dry form and then form scabs. High fever and severe headache are the symptoms which are followed by the appearance of blisters.
Effects Of Communicable Diseases
Because such diseases can spread at a very fast pace, they are very harmful and detrimental. The effects can be seen upon the health, fitness, behaviour and mood.
There is a loss of appetite. How? You tell me by your own experience. Do you feel like eating when you are ill? There has been marked a reduced level in food intake from the normal level, when communicable diseases attack your body.
But, remember, if you will not eat food, then how will you get the energy to fight against the diseases? Your body needs a fuel! Provide it with the surplus energy!
Usually, a communicable disease cannot signal us without the coughing and sneezing. These two symptoms are very common and when their intensity rises, you just cannot take any more.
Stomach ache, abdominal pain and diarrhoeal problems are also very common. Fever and sweating is also observed. Tiredness and fatigue is experienced more because the body has become weak and it is not able to carry out the day to day activities properly.
Communicable Diseases Intelligence
Communicable Disease Intelligence (CDI) is a scientific journal which is published quarterly, that is once in every 3 months. It is published by the Office of Health Protection, Department of health.
The main objectives of the journal are to present the people with the information on “epidemiology, surveillance, prevention and control of communicable diseases”. There are very high quality and standardized articles present in the journal, which are really very informative and helpful.
The matter is available online if you wish to search for it. Any expert or practitioner can submit his or her own article in any discipline related to public health.
This is a good opportunity for the advanced trainees and the scholars to put forward their material and research content for the world to read and study.
Communicable Diseases Prevention
The prevention is better than cure. When you know the causes, the prevention methods become easy to understand and execute. You must learn the individual methods to tackle the problems.
The prevention steps are taken from the age of childhood. The vaccination is provided in order to make the childrenimmune to such communicable diseases.
Also, on environmental basis, you can fight against the diseases. Keep your surroundings neat and clean. The most contacted things should not be contaminated. The transfer methods need to be avoided, such as the direct contact with the infected person or putting contaminated hands on the face.
Eat healthy so that your body develops good resistance power against the communicable diseases. Exercise daily and practice good lifestyle habits.
Before you read about the treatment of communicable disease, you may enhance your knowledge about airborne diseases, their types, precautions and methods of prevention.
Treatment For Communicable Diseases
Even despite taking the precautions, if the pathogen manages to enter your body, you can go to the doctor and get the diagnosis done as soon as possible. Antiviral medications and antibiotics are given and prescribed.
Follow the proper treatment as told to you by the doctor and just try to eat healthy. As you know that prevention is the best treatment of any disease so, you must try to avoid the means of communication of communicable diseases and take the preventive measures as discussed above.
Frequently asked questions about communicable diseases:
- What are the examples of communicable diseases?
Answer: Ebola, Enterovirus D68, Flu, Hantavirus, Measles, MRSA and Pertussis are few examples of communicable diseases.
- What are non-communicable diseases?
Answer: Diseases which are caused by non-transmissible or non-infectious agents or in other words, diseases which are not caused due to infectious agents are known as non-communicable diseases.
They are also called NCDs and generally refers to chronic diseases. Progress of NCDs normally remains slow but they last for long period of time.
- Is malaria a communicable disease?
Answer: Yes, malaria is a communicable disease as it is spread by anopheles mosquito bite from an infected person to another. Malaria is caused by a parasite and this parasite completes its life cycle in human’s and mosquito’s body combined.
- Is diarrhea considered a communicable disease?
Answer: Diarrhea is not contagious always, especially when it is chronic.
- Is tuberculosis communicable or non-communicable?
Answer: If you are in regular contact with TB patient and/or for a longer duration of time then you may get infected by active TB disease which gets spread from one person to another through lungs coughs, sings, sneezes of talks. But, TB is not a highly contagious disease.
- What is the definition of a communicable disease?
Answer: A communicable disease can be defined as an infectious disease which is transmissible from one person to another by direct or indirect means.
- What is a non-infectious disease?
Answer: Any disease which is not contagious is considered as a non-infectious disease. Non-infectious diseases are generally caused by environmental toxins, lifestyle factors or sometimes due to gene mutations.
The best examples of non-infectious diseases are cancer and diabetes etc. Non infectious diseases are also know as non-communicable diseases.
- How can we prevent communicable disease?
Answer: The best ways to prevent communicable diseases are to learn, good practices and healthy habits. Few good practices which we should follow for the prevention of communicable of diseases are listed below:
- Do often wash your hands.
- Do not share your personal items with others.
- Get yourself vaccinated.
- Must stay at home whenever sick.
- Always put your hanky or sleeve while coughing or sneezing.
- Clean the vegetables before cutting or chopping and cook your food safely.
- Keep Houseflies away from your home and kitchen as they carry pathogens.
- Do not get in touch with wild animals Etc.
- Is the common cold a communicable disease?
Answer: Common cold is generally an infection of upper respiratory tract which affects the nasal passage, throat, nose and your throat. There exist more than 200 types of viruses responsible for common cold. Common cold is highly contagious in its initial stage.
- How is hepatitis B transmitted from one person to person?
Answer: Hepatitis B is usually transmitted through semen, blood or by other body fluids of infected person to a healthy person. It can even get transmitted from an infected mother to a baby at the time of his/birth or even to a healthy sexual partner from an infected one. Many a times Hepatitis B gets transmitted by syringes or drug-injections etc. So, you can understand that hepatitis B is a communicable disease
- What are the differences between communicable and non-communicable diseases?
Answer: Below are the few basic differences between communicable and non-communicable diseases. You must really focus on them and understand them as well.