In medicine, diseases are divided into two broad groups:-Communicable and Non-communicable diseases. Simply speaking, communicable diseases spread to persons within
a community, state, country and to several parts of the world in a pandemic. On the other hand, a non-communicable disease cannot spread to any other person in a community from a person who has it; it remains with the person who has it.
1. Definition of communicable disease
A communicable disease is a disease that can spread from one person to another through a germ or its toxic product from an infected person, animal or reservoir. The transfer of this infectious germ can be direct by consumption of contaminated food or water OR indirectly through intermediate animals/plants, vector (e.g. mosquitoes) or in-animate objects such as handkerchiefs, door handles, cups etc.
2. Definition of non-communicable disease
A non-communicable disease is a disease that cannot spread to any other person in a community from a person who has it; it remains with the person who has it.
Heredity can play a role in a person acquiring a non-communicable but it remains within the family.
3. Global situation of communicable and non-communicable diseases
Communicable diseases are more common in poor and under developed countries than in rich and developed countries such as the USA.
On the other hand, non-communicable diseases are more common in rich and developed countries than in poor and under-developed countries such as Nigeria.
World-wide, non- communicable diseases are becoming a major cause of sickness and death. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), by 2004, Non-communicable diseases accounted for 47% of diseases globally while Communicable diseases accounted for 53%. However, non-communicable diseases accounted for almost 60% of deaths; thus while they account for less number of diseases, non-communicable diseases account for more deaths.
4.Examples of communicable diseases
The common Communicable Diseases include Malaria, Typhoid Fever, Polio, Ebola, Cholera, Yellow Fever, TB, Meningitis, Whooping Cough and Tetanus.
5.Examples of non-communicable diseases
The common Non-communicable Diseases include High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Cancer, Heart Disease, Stroke, Obesity, Rheumatism, and Psychiatric disorders.
6.Prevention of communicable diseases
Communicable Diseases can be prevented by potable water supply, personal hygiene, food hygiene, environmental hygiene, immunization and knowledge of the disease.
7. Prevention of non-communicable diseases.
Non-communicable diseases can be prevented by dietary discipline, regular exercise, proper nutrition, life style (tobacco and alcohol consumption),choice of occupation and Knowledge of the disease among others.