Difference between communicable and non-communicable diseases

What are the differences you should know? (source:

What are communicable diseases?

Communicable diseases are diseases that have particular causative agents and are contagious. This means that the agent as well as the disease can spread from one person to another or from an animal to a human host. Agents that cause communicable diseases may include:

  • Bacteria- cause diseases such as tuberculosis, whooping cough, gastroenteritis
  • Viruses- cause diseases such as hepatitis, mumps, rubella, covid-19, AIDS
  • Protozoa-cause diseases such as dysentery or malaria.
  • Fungi- cause candidiasis, athlete’s foot, ringworm

Communicable diseases usually have an acute onset and can get transmitted from one person to another through the following routes:

  • Direct contact- transmission through infected wounds, blood, body fluids or feces
  • Indirect contact- through infected water, air, insect vectors or through food.
  • Sexual contact

Although symptoms of communicable diseases differ according to the type of organism that has invaded the body, symptoms usually include vomiting headaches, running nose, itching, fever and diarrhea. Usually a completed dose of antibiotics, antifungal, antivirals are effective in controlling these diseases.

What are non-communicable diseases?

Non-communicable diseases are diseases that not contagious, meaning that they cannot be spread from one person to another. These diseases usually develop in an individual due to their eating habits, lifestyle, allergies, heredity, long-term illnesses or environmental change. These diseases often develop over a long time period and have a slow progression.  They can usually be prevented by making some crucial lifestyle changes such as exercise, proper diet and regular checkups. Most often non-communicable diseases are treated either through conservative methods or through surgery. Examples of non-communicable diseases include-

  • Atherosclerosis/ Cardiovascular diseases
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Hypertension

What are other differences between the two?

Other notable differences between communicable and non communicable diseases include:

Major differences between communicable and non-communicable diseases. (source:

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Regis Philbin