Know the Difference Between Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases

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Difference Between Communicable and Non-communicable Diseases: A Brief View

Disease is an abnormal internal condition which affects the normal body functioning of a living organism. It is caused due to external factors such as bacteria, virus, parasites, exposure to toxins or gene mutations. They are classified into two main categories – acquired and congenital. Acquired diseases are further grouped into communicable and nom-communicable diseases.

The main difference between communicable and non-communicable disease is that the former is contagious, which means it can be transmitted from one individual to another. On the other hand, non-communicable diseases are not infectious. The discussions below will give you an idea about the difference between communicable disease and non-communicable disease.

Communicable Diseases

As the name suggests, those diseases which are contagious and spread from one individual to another directly or indirectly are called infectious diseases. They spread through insect or animal bites, external pathogens or microorganisms that enter our body through a variety of ways. As mentioned before, this is one of the main difference between communicable and non-communicable disease.

For instance, you may wonder is typhoid communicable or non-communicable and how does it spread. The section below will give you an idea.

Given below are Some of the Ways through Which Infectious Diseases can Spread – 

Infectious disease can be transmitted from one person to another through physical contact with an infected person. It includes droplets, faecal or oral transmission, sexual intercourse etc.

  1. One can get infected by touching any contaminated surface or object such as blood, water, food. 

  2. Infectious diseases such as dengue, malaria, plague spread via bites from carrier animals or insects who carry the virus.

  3. Some infectious diseases are airborne.

List of Infectious Diseases

Some common contagious diseases include – 

  • Ebola.

  • Flu.

  • Hepatitis A.

  • Hepatitis B.


  • Measles.

  • Tuberculosis.

  • Mumps.

  • Chickenpox.

  • Cholera.

Preventive Measures

The spread of infectious diseases should be controlled as quickly as possible to avoid substantial loss of life. Here are some of the preventive measures that should be adopted – 

  1. Proper sanitation. 

  2. Keeping the surroundings clean. 

  3. Vaccination. 

  4. Avoid sharing personal use items such as toothbrush.

Proper awareness regarding infectious diseases is crucial not only from an exam point of view. It also helps you to understand whether certain illnesses such as dengue are communicable or non-communicable disease and goes a long way towards prevention of the same.

Non-Communicable Diseases

Diseases which are not transmitted from one person to another are known as non-communicable diseases. They are also known as chronic diseases. Some interesting facts about this disease group have been given below – 

  1. They usually persist for a long time and in some cases throughout a person’s life. 

  2. These illnesses require extensive treatment and cannot be cured through vaccination. It is another main difference between communicable and non-communicable disease.

  3. Non-communicable diseases are the leading causes of death every year all over the world.

The major non-communicable disease groups are – 

  • Cardiovascular diseases.

  • Chronic respiratory disease.

  • Cancer.

  • Diabetes.

Apart from these, non-contagious diseases include arthritis and related conditions, epilepsy and seizures, oral problem, digestive health problem, kidney disorders etc. Genetic and mental diseases also fall under the category of non-communicable diseases.

Causes of Non-Communicable Diseases

Yet another massive difference between communicable and non-communicable disease are the causes of illness. According to the World Health Organisation, the significant risk factors that are responsible for non-contagious diseases are – 

  • Physical inactivity.

  • Unhealthy dietary habits.

  • Excessive alcohol consumption.

  • Use of tobacco and harmful drugs.

  • High blood pressure and blood sugar level.

  • Obesity.

  • High cholesterol levels.

Other than the ones mentioned above, there are other risk factors such as demography, environment and genetics that also play a significant role. 

Consequently, some of the ways one can follow to prevent non-contagious disease are given below – 

  • Exercising daily. 

  • Going for regular check-ups.

  • Reducing alcohol and tobacco consumption.

  • Strictly monitoring food habits to keep blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol levels in check.

The main difference between communicable and non-communicable disease is highlighted in the table below. It will help you memorise the crucial points quickly while you are revising for your examinations. 

Difference Between Communicable Disease and Non-Communicable Diseases

Communicable Disease 

Non-Communicable Disease

They are contagious diseases that spread from one person to another.

As the name suggests, they are not transmitted from one individual to another.

They are caused by agents like viruses, bacteria, parasites, etc.

These diseases are caused due to a combination of several aspects such as environmental factors, dietary habits, physiological and genetical factors.

Infectious diseases can be prevented by following some measures such as vaccination, keeping one’s surroundings clean, disinfecting surfaces regularly, washing hands, etc.

These types of diseases can be prevented by minimising the risk factors by maintaining daily exercise, regular medical check-up, and a healthy diet.

Infectious diseases cannot be inherited. 

Some Non-communicable diseases are inherited.

Examples include cholera, malaria, dengue, AIDS, typhoid, common cold and flu.

Examples include cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, allergies, and Alzheimer’s.

Good Luck for Your Exams

So, NEET is just around the corner, and you are probably at the last and most crucial phase of your revision. At this stage, apart from knowing all the inherent concepts such as the difference between communicable and non-communicable disease thoroughly, you should also have an idea about the exam pattern and structure. 

At this stage, you should also make it a point to appear for as many mock tests as possible. It will improve your speed and accuracy and help you to revise how to tackle difficult topics such as differentiate between communicable and non-communicable diseases.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What does the Term ‘Quarantine’ Imply?

Ans.  Individuals or animals who have been exposed to any case of infectious disease during its outbreak are ‘quarantined’, or their activities are restricted to prevent further spread of disease. 

2. What do You Mean by the Term ‘Risk Factors’ for Diseases?

Ans. The term ‘risk factor’ means conditions, behaviours or characteristics that increase the chances of disease. The main risk factors for non-communicable diseases are (i) high blood pressure or hypertension (ii) obesity (iii) high blood sugar levels, etc.

3. What is Meant by the Term (a) Carrier (b) Case?

Ans. A ‘carrier’ is a person or animal who harbours the infection but shows no outward symptoms. A ‘case’ is an individual or animal who carries the disease and exhibits symptoms. Both carry the risk of spreading the virus.

4. What are the Approaches Taken by India towards Controlling Communicable Diseases?

Ans. India has focused on strengthening public health services and launched several sanitation and hygiene programs to control infectious diseases.