Communicable Diseases vs. Non-Communicable Diseases

Communicable diseases are the types of diseases that spread from person to person through direct contact, water droplets, or wind or indirect mode and are highly infectious. The word “infection” is usually used with the word “contagious.” On the contrary, non-communicable diseases are the type of diseases that are not contagious and does not spread from person to person. Non-communicable diseases are caused by an allergy, long illness, abnormalities in cell proliferation, malnutrition and inheritance.

COVID19, dengue, cold flu, AIDS and dysentery are examples of communicable diseases, whereas allergies, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke are examples of non-communicable diseases. The disease is an unhealthy condition of the mind or body which affects the functions of the tissues, organs and the entire body. Infection is the diseased condition caused by the invasion of pathogens, harming the cells and body.

There are different diseases that owned their specific causes, some are easily detectable and some are diagnosed in the later stage of life. The line between communicable and non-communicable diseases is not clear. A certain chronic disease-causing agent was found due to infection of the virus, which was previously thought to be unrelated to the same. Research is going on to find out whether any communicable disease is a non-communicable or non-communicable disease that can be contagious or not.

Comparison Table

Basis for ComparisonCommunicable DiseaseNon-communicable disease
DefinitionThe disease which spreads from person to person contact is called communicable disease.The disease which does not spread from person to person contact is called non-communicable disease.
Another nameThe contagious disease, infectious diseaseNon-contagious disease, non-infectious disease
CausesPathogensAllergy, illness, abnormalities in genes and malnutrition
Infecting agentsBacteria and virusNo infecting agent
InheritanceCannot be inheritedCan be inherited
TreatmentTreated by conventional methods or therapiesTreated conservatively and surgically
Disease TypeAcuteChronic
ExamplesCOVID 19, dengue, AIDS, tuberculosis, typhoid, cholera, malaria, etcCancer, rickets, heart diseases, diabetes, etc

What is Communicable Disease?

Communicable diseases are contagious diseases and also called infectious diseases. These diseases are transferred through direct contact from one person to another person or from animal to person. Direct contact also includes the transmission of disease from the infected blood, feces, or other bodily fluids. The second route of transmission is indirect, which include air, water, food and insect. Communicable diseases are also called acute diseases as they develop suddenly. It is found that communicable diseases are more widely spread in underdeveloped countries than in developed countries.

Symptoms of communicable diseases depend on the kind of infection caught. The most common symptoms of these diseases are diarrhea, malaria, vomiting, dysentery, muscle ache, headache, rabies, flu, running nose, fever, cough and itching.

Some diseases are also spread through sexual contact. Sexually transmitted diseases include ulcers in the genital areas, lesions located in sexual organs, smelly, greenish or grayish discharge and other parts of the body when the infection has already spread.

Common pathogens of communicable diseases are bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi. Bacteria is the single-celled organism after the virus and causes whooping cough, gonorrhea and tuberculosis. The virus is the smallest organism responsible for causing measles, AIDs and hepatitis. Fungi are responsible for causing ringworm and athlete’s food.


Communicable diseases can be avoided by adopting different precautionary measures. One must Wear face masks wherever necessary and should wash hands properly. People must avoid coming in contact with the infected person.

What is a Non-communicable disease?

Non-communicable diseases are the type of diseases that do not spread from person to person. So, these diseases are called non-contagious diseases. These diseases are caused by allergy, malnutrition, changes in lifestyle, eating habits, environmental changes, long-term illness, side effects of the medicines and inheritance.

Communicable diseases are called chronic diseases, which means these progress slowly and happen for a long period. According to WHO, 60% of deaths worldwide are due to non-communicable diseases.

Non-communicable diseases are diabetes, obesity, allergy, excessive hunger, stroke, thirst, hypertension, blurred vision, frequent urination, osteoporosis, arthritis, chronic kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.


Precautionary measures against non-communicable diseases are maintaining the proper diet, exercising according to age and visiting doctors for a regular body checkup. One must not ignore any single sign and symptom of illness in the body. These diseases are treated by medicines, changing lifestyles and surgery.

Key Differences between Communicable and non Communicable Diseases

  1. A communicable disease is an acute disease that progresses quickly and transfers from one person to another person directly or indirectly whereas a non-communicable disease is a chronic disease that progresses slowly and caused by any long-term illness, environmental factors and inheritance, etc.
  2. Causative agents of communicable disease are bacteria, viruses and parasites, whereas causative agents of non-communicable diseases are lifestyle, environmental factors, alcohol use, genetic factors and uncontrolled diet, etc.
  3. Communicable diseases are treated by conventional methods, whereas non-communicable diseases are treated through conservative methods or surgically.
  4. Examples of communicable diseases are dysentery, flu, diarrhea, rabies, tuberculosis, malaria, cold, cough, and vomiting, whereas examples of non-communicable diseases are stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and muscle pain.


In conclusion, communicable and non-communicable diseases differ from each other based on the cause. But this difference does not mean that one is more dangerous than others.

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