Causes of most common communicable diseases / Infectious diseases

Communicable diseases are the disease caused due to bacteria, virus, fungal and parasitic infections and have the ability to spread directly or indirectly. It may spread through droplets, touch, sexual intercourse, fecal transmission, contaminated surface, and insect bites.


Following are the various types of communicable diseases:

  1. Common cold: Common cold is the infection caused in the upper respiratory tract including nasal passages. A common cold is caused due to viral infection. The condition may lead to cough, runny nose, sore throat, and headache.
  2. Influenza: This infection is caused due to the influenza virus and the condition affects more severely in children where it causes diarrhea and vomiting.
  3. Conjunctivitis: Conjunctivitis is the infection of the eyes is characterized by pink eyes. Other symptoms include watery eyes and itching.
  4. Viral hepatitis: Viral hepatitis is the inflammation of liver cells caused due to viral infection.
  5. Chlamydia: It is a type of sexually transmitted infection caused by Chlamydia trachomatis. It can be spread through vaginal, anal or oral sex.
  6. Strep throat: Strep throat is caused due to Streptococcus, which inflames the back of the mouth. The condition causes symptoms such as swollen tonsils, sore throat, and enlarged lymph nodes.
  7. Herpes infection: Herpes infection is a type of communicable disease caused due to herpes simplex.
  8. Gonorrhea: Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease causes due to the infection of Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
  9. Tuberculosis: Tuberculosis is generally a respiratory disease caused by the infection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.


Following are the causes of communicable diseases:

  1. Bacteria such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and Neisseria gonorrhea
  2. A virus such hepatitis virus
  3. Fungus such as Trichophyton rubrum, T. mentagrophytes, and Epidermophyton floccosum.
  4. Parasites such as S. haematobium and S. mansoni.


  1. Muscle and joint pain
  2. Fever
  3. Headache
  4. Runny nose
  5. Watery eyes
  6. Diarrhea
  7. Nausea and vomiting
  8. Sore throat
  9. Swollen lymph nodes
  10. Difficulty breathing

Ways to diagnose

The specific tests for the diagnosis of the communicable disease depend upon the organ involved as well as the type of causative organism, i.e. whether it is a virus or bacteria. However, as the preliminary symptoms of communicable diseases are similar, general diagnostic tests are applicable for initial screening. Following are the diagnostic tests done for communicable disease:

  1. Laboratory test: The cause and extent of the communicable disease can be identified through laboratory tests that can be done by taking various body fluids.
    • a) Blood tests: Blood test helps identify the presence of infection in the blood. Various bacterial and viral toxins can be identified.
    • b) Urine tests: Urine test can be done to diagnose an infection that has been spread to the urinary tract.
    • c) Vaginal swab: Vaginal swab is analyzed to diagnose the presence of sexually transmitted diseases.
    • d) Throat swab: Throat swap is advised in those cases when the patient suffers from sore throat and swollen lymph nodes.
  2. Imaging techniques: Various imaging techniques such as X-ray or CT scan are recommended in patients suffering from conditions such as hepatitis or tuberculosis.

Risks if neglect

Communicable diseases are the diseases which are spread directly or indirectly. Various type of communicable diseases exists. Some are mild and the others are serious. The risk of neglecting the disease depends upon the severity and the organs involved. Some mild communicable diseases such as flu require monitoring and go away of its own while some diseases such as hepatitis and tuberculosis require aggressive treatment. These serious diseases, if neglected, may cause long term health issues and may also lead to fatal consequences.


Following are the general stages:

  1. Incubation: This is the stage between the infection and presentation of symptoms.
  2. Prodromal: In this stage, the multiplication of the causative organism is fast, and the severity of symptoms increases.
  3. Illness: During this stage, the symptoms achieve the highest severity.
  4. Decline: During this period, the growth of the pathogen decreases, and symptoms start reducing.
  5. Convalescence: At this stage, the body function returns to normal level although some weakness may exist.

Foods to eat and avoid

Foods to eat:

  1. Yogurt
  2. Kale
  3. Garlic
  4. Citrus fruits such as orange
  5. Omega-3 rich foods such as olive oil and salmon fish
  6. Honey
  7. Coconut oil
  8. Turmeric
  9. Ginger
  10. Apples
  11. Chicken soup
  12. Chamomile tea
  13. Fennel

Foods to avoid:

  1. Carbonated water
  2. Ice-cream
  3. Gluten-rich foods
  4. Baked foods
  5. Fried and spicy foods

Prevention tips

  1. Drink plenty of water and fluids.
  2. Report any symptom to your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
  3. Maintain proper hygiene.
  4. Avoid intake of contaminated food and water.
  5. Have proper vaccinations.
  6. Wash your hands before eating food.
  7. Take healthy food that boosts your immune system.
  8. Wear a full sleeves shirt in case the incidence of communicable disease increases.
  9. Ask other people to cover his mouth while coughing or sneezing.

When to see a doctor

Book an appointment with your healthcare provider if:

  • You are suffering from stomach pain and diarrhea.
  • You have the feeling of nausea and dizziness.
  • You are suffering from a high fever.
  • You are experiencing itching and rashes on the skin.
  • You have a cough and difficulty breathing.
  • You have an intense headache.
  • You feel weak and tired.
  • You have muscle and joint pain.
  • There are other symptoms that concern you.

Do’s & Don’ts


  • Always wash hands prior to preparing or eating food.
  • Commonly used articles such as doorknobs or switches should be disinfected.
  • Always use a tissue paper or cloth while sneezing or coughing.
  • Apply mosquito repellent creams before going outside.
  • Always wear full sleeve clothes when the cases of communicable diseases are on the rise.
  • Always cover your septic tanks.
  • Remove water from the coolers.
  • Vaccinate when required.


  • Do not share your personal articles such as a towel.
  • Do not allow water to stagnate near your area.
  • Do not defecate in open.
  • Do not eat already cut fruits.
  • Do not eat food from the road-side vendors.
  • Do not drink water from polluted sources.

Risks for specific people

People with low immunity are at increased risk of developing infections. The unhygienic routine also increases incidences of communicable diseases. People living in crowded places with polluted water, sanitation and hygiene are more prone to develop communicable diseases. The communicable disease also spread through the mass spread, poor health and nutrition policies, poor economy and insecurity.