ALERT Learn More | NASP Certification Program: The Path to Success Has Many Routes. Choose Yours

Communicable Disease

Last updated: July 4, 2017

What Does Communicable Disease Mean?

A communicable disease is an illness that is transmitted through contact with disease-causing agents or microorganisms that cause an infection. Carriers of these microorganisms can include people, animals, food, surfaces, and air as they pass infectious illnesses from one host to the next. The most common methods of infection are the exchange of fluids or contact with a contaminated substance or individual.

Safeopedia Explains Communicable Disease

Communicable diseases, also known as infectious or transmittable diseases, are illnesses that result from an infection. They are caused by the invasion of the organism by microorganisms and the toxins they excrete.

Infections can be carried by a variety of hosts including humans and animals, as well as surfaces, liquids, and air. Aside from bacterial and viral infections, a communicable disease can also be caused by parasites. Proper precautions and prevention are important parts of public health initiatives. Treatment for communicable diseases depends largely on the cause. Bacterial infections respond best to antibiotics, while viral infections may only require anti-viral drugs. Parasites, such as lice and ticks, can be eliminated with specially formulated shampoos and medication.

It is the responsibility of local health departments to report outbreaks of communicable diseases to the Department of Public Health under their guidelines for disease surveillance and investigation efforts. There are different types of communicable illnesses, which include mild, acute infections and more complex chronic diseases that require quarantine.



infectious disease, transmittable disease

Share this Term

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

Related Reading


HazardsEHS ProgramsSafety Hazard

Trending Articles

Go back to top