1.1  What are communicable diseases?

As described in the introduction, the organisms that cause communicable diseases are called infectious agents, and their transmission to new uninfected people is what causes communicable diseases; (note that infectious diseases is an interchangeable term). Familiar examples of communicable diseases are malaria and tuberculosis. Diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes mellitus, which are not caused by infectious agents and are not transmitted between people, are called non-communicable diseases.

This curriculum includes a Module on Non-Communicable Diseases, Emergency Care and Mental Health.

  • Tuberculosis is caused by an organism called Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which can be transmitted from one person to another. Is TB a communicable or non-communicable disease?

  • It is a communicable disease because it is caused by an infectious agent and it develops as a result of transmission of the infectious agent.

Learning Outcomes for Study Session 1

1.1.1  The burden of communicable diseases in Ethiopia