A communicable disease is an illness that can be passed from one person to another. The term is often used to refer to infectious diseases, which are caused by microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites.
Commonly known communicable diseases include the flu, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS. These diseases can be spread through direct contact with an infected person, or through indirect contact with contaminated surfaces or objects.
Many communicable diseases can be prevented through vaccination, and early detection and treatment can often minimize the severity of symptoms.
How much do you know about communicable diseases?
Communicable diseases are caused by pathogens – bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites – that can be spread from person to person. They can spread through contact with infected blood or body fluids, exposure to contaminated food or water, or contact with an infected animal.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), communicable diseases are responsible for 35 million deaths each year, or almost 60% of all deaths globally. The vast majority of these deaths (27 million) occur in low- and middle-income countries.
The most common communicable diseases include:
Many of these diseases can be prevented through vaccination, treatment and vector control. But due to a lack of access to these interventions, communicable diseases continue to claim millions of lives each year.