List of Communicable Diseases

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 06/02/2024

India has long been fighting communicable diseases. The threat of such diseases continues to hover due to lack of hygiene, poor sanitation, non-availability of clean drinking water, and so on. In 2021, pneumonia claimed around 14,000 lives in India, followed by respiratory infections, which claimed over 9,000 lives.

Better awareness about types of communicable diseases can help individuals take the necessary preventive measures. This can reduce the spread of such diseases. In this article, we shall talk in detail about communicable diseases, types, symptoms, communicable disease prevention, and much more.

What are Communicable Diseases?

Infectious diseases are those that spread from one person to another or from one animal to another. Communicable diseases are infectious or contagious and transmitted among people.

They spread through direct contact or indirectly through blood, saliva, and other bodily fluids. Pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa, cause communicable diseases. Let us see which are the infectious diseases.

List of Communicable Diseases

Covid-19- The SARS-CoV-2 virus sent the entire world into a panic mode, with its onset in 2019. This disease affects the respiratory system and spreads when the infected person sneezes or coughs, leading airborne droplets to float.

It was observed that those with comorbidity (two or more medical conditions) were more affected and had to bear high hospitalisation costs. In such cases, a health insurance plan proved highly beneficial. COVID-19 was one of the communicable diseases, prevention of which became possible with timely and effective vaccinations.

Typhoid- Typhoid is a result of the bacterium Salmonella, which is similar to the one causing food poisoning. This disease harms several organs and, if not detected on time, can prove to be deadly. It spreads through the faeces or urine of the infected person and is highly infectious.

Malaria- The plasmodium parasite is the agent that causes malaria. This disease occurs when an infected mosquito bites, causing the parasite to enter the body. It can also spread from one person to another by using infected syringes or needles. The symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, tiredness, etc.

Rhinoviruses- This group of viruses is the common reason for causing colds. It spreads when the infected person coughs or sneezes, leading to the release of contaminated droplets. Some of its symptoms are sore throat, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, headaches, and watery eyes.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)- HIV is a disease that directly attacks the immune system of the host. It makes them prone to catching more infections and diseases. This disease turns into AIDS if not treated on time. Though there is no treatment for this disease, medications can keep it under control.

Tuberculosis-Tuberculosis is an infection that affects the lungs and causes various symptoms like fever, chills, weight loss, night sweats, etc. It spreads through the cough or sneeze of the infected person. Tuberculosis also affects the brain, spine, kidneys, and other organs. Since the treatment of tuberculosis can be expensive, it is recommended to have a health insurance plan from a reputed insurance provider.

Hepatitis- When the bodily tissues are harmed or infected, the liver becomes inflamed. The swelling on the liver can hamper its functioning. Hepatitis A and E spread through contaminated food or water. Hepatitis B, C, and D spread through the blood. Some medical insurance plans offer coverage for Hepatitis B.

Lyme Disease- Black-legged ticks are known to spread this deadly infection to humans. The bacterias Borrelia burgdorferi or Borrelia mayonii are responsible for this disease. Failing to treat this disease timely can cause it to spread to the joints, heart, and nervous system.

Influenza- Influenza is one among the list of communicable diseases wherein the respiratory organs, including the throat, nose, and lungs, are infected. Infants, pregnant women, older adults (65 years and above), and those with weak immune systems are at increased risk of catching this infection. It can lead to deadly complications, which can be prevented to some extent with the help of vaccination.

Ringworm- This is a type of fungal infection of the skin which looks like a ring-shaped rash. Sometimes, it is itchy, dry, or scaly. It can spread when one comes in contact with an infected person, or shares the towels, bedding, or other personal items. It can also spread if you come into contact with animals with ringworms, like cats.

Apart from the list of communicable diseases, one must also be aware of the different types of communicable diseases to stay better informed.

What are the Different Types of Communicable Diseases

Viral Infections- Viruses are pathogens with genetic material. They lack a complex cell structure. Thus, they enter the cells of other living beings to multiply themselves. Some examples of viral diseases are flu, hepatitis, and HIV.

Bacterial Infections- These are single-cell organisms and are microscopic. They are present everywhere, including the human body. Though many bacteria are harmless, some of them can harm the body. Bacterial infections include pneumonia, tuberculosis, etc.

Fungi- Fungi are a type of organism. They include yeasts, moulds, and mushrooms. Only 300 fungi are known to cause infections out of the millions of different fungi. Though fungal infections can occur anywhere on the body, they primarily affect the skin. It includes ringworm, athlete's foot, etc.

Protozoa- Protozoa are single-celled organisms that dwell inside other living organisms. They use the other organisms' nutrients to survive. Parasitic protozoa cause various diseases like malaria and tapeworms.

Understanding the causes and symptoms of communicable diseases helps to know the diseases at their onset and take timely treatment and measures.

Symptoms and Causes of Communicable Diseases

Causes of Communicable Diseases

  • Coming in direct contact with the infected person

  • Contacting the bodily fluids that are infected with pathogens like blood, saliva, etc.

  • Inhaling the droplets from the air that are released from the infected person's sneeze or cough

  • Coming into contact with an animal or being bitten by it

  • Eating or drinking contaminated food or water

  • Some diseases are also caused by sexual contact with the infected person

  • Coming into indirect contact with surfaces, tabletops, door knobs


The symptoms of communicable diseases vary from one disease to another. Some of the symptoms are seen as soon as the pathogen enters the body, while some individuals do not exhibit any symptoms but can spread the disease.

Every communicable disease is accompanied by specific symptoms depending on the organ that is affected and the type of disease. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Fever

  • Cough

  • Cold

  • Chills

  • Rashes

  • Weight loss

  • Muscle ache

  • Tiredness

  • Sore throat

  • Nasal congestion

If you experience any symptoms, it is best to visit a medical practitioner. They may advise various tests to find out if you are infected with any communicable disease and take further steps quickly.

Test Which Can Help in Diagnosing Communicable Diseases

Blood tests- Conducting a blood test helps in detecting the infectious agents or antibodies present in the blood. It can help to confirm the disease early on.

Bacterial or viral cultures- Under this method, a sample of fluid or tissues is taken from the infected area. This sample is then placed on a particular medium to see the bacterial growth.

Tissue sample- By collecting the tissue sample from the infected organ, the presence of an infectious agent can be ascertained.

Imaging- You can also opt for imaging tests, like CT scans and X-rays, to obtain a detailed picture of the infected organ and decide the course of treatment.

Molecular diagnostic test- Tests such as PCR or Polymerase Chain Reaction can also help to identify the infection-causing agent.

In order to reduce the rate of spreading of communicable diseases, it is essential to know the preventive measures that can be taken.

Communicable Diseases Prevention

Washing hands thoroughly- Those who are infected with any communicable disease must wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water. Clean hands help to prevent the spreading of any infection. Those around sick people must also take precautions and keep their hands clean.

Taking vaccines- Taking regular vaccine doses for prescribed diseases is another effective way of communicable diseases prevention and spreading it to others.

Avoiding close contact- It is advisable to avoid coming in close contact with the infected person and break the chain.

Covering the mouth and nose- Infected individuals must always cover their nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing in public and otherwise. If tissue is not available, one must cough or sneeze in the upper arm or elbow.

Disinfecting surfaces- Surfaces touched by a sick person must be disinfected frequently. This includes door knobs, table tops, handles, phones, etc.

Avoid sharing personal items- Strictly avoid sharing any personal items like towels, razors, toothbrushes, etc.

Avoid consuming raw food- Uncooked food items like raw meat, eggs, and dairy products may be contaminated with bacteria. Hence, it is best to consume them only after cooking.

Seek medical assistance- When you notice symptoms, it is best to consult a doctor and seek assistance immediately.

The Role of Medical Insurance in Communicable Diseases

The different types of communicable diseases that countries across the world, including India, face are a huge challenge. It is necessary to follow the preventive protocols and ensure your good health and that of your family members. Apart from taking preventive measures, one must buy health insurance online and be prepared for any unforeseen health crisis.

A medical insurance plan helps you to cover the treatment expenses and also allows you to receive the best care under critical conditions. You can get admitted to any hospital across the country and benefit from the cashless health insurance provided by Tata AIG.


Communicable diseases can spread in many ways, like through direct contact, fluids, animal bites, and indirect contact. While some diseases are mild, some can be deadly if not treated on time. However, taking communicable disease prevention measures requires you to be aware of the symptoms and causes, ensuring you stay safe and sound.

As soon as you notice symptoms, you must get the required tests done and start the treatment to defeat the disease in time. It is highly advised to adopt a healthy lifestyle and eat healthy food to build immunity. Having a robust immune system allows your body to resist the infectious agent and emerge victorious against it.


What causes types of communicable diseases?

Pathogens like fungi, bacteria, and viruses cause infectious diseases. These diseases spread either through direct or indirect contact with the infected person, their bodily fluid, faeces, urine, etc. They also spread through animal contact and animal bites.

Can communicable diseases have long-term effects?

While the majority of communicable diseases do not have a severe long-term effect, some of them do. For instance, HIV can impact the immune system and make it weak and prone to other infections. In some cases of severe tuberculosis, lung function can be impaired, affecting the respiratory system.

Can X-rays and scans help to detect infectious diseases?

Yes, X-rays are an imaging test that gives a detailed picture of the affected organ in the body. They are helpful in diagnosing conditions like pneumonia and tuberculosis. However, they are not effective in the case of all infectious diseases. In some cases, a blood test or culture is required.

What are pathogens?

Pathogens are a type of microorganisms. They cause diseases in humans, animals, and plants. Pathogens include bacteria, viruses, and fungi. They can interrupt the normal functioning of the host and cause the immune system to trigger. Pathogens can be transmitted through air, water, food, fluids, animal bites, etc.

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