2.1  Classification of communicable diseases

Communicable diseases can be classified in different ways into groups with similar characteristics. Classification will help you to select and apply appropriate prevention and control measures that are common to a class of communicable diseases. In this section you will learn the basis for each way of classifying communicable diseases and its relevance to your practice. This will be clarified using examples of communicable diseases that you may already be familiar with.

In Study Session 1 you have learned the types of infectious agents which can be used for classification of communicable diseases. Apart from this, there are two main ways of classifying communicable diseases, which are important for you to know. The classification can be clinical or epidemiologic, as described in Box 2.1.

Box 2.1  Two ways of classifying communicable diseases

Clinical classification is based on the main clinical manifestations (symptoms and signs) of the disease.

Epidemiologic classification is based on the main mode of transmission of the disease.

Now, we will discuss the details of each type of classification with specific examples.

Learning Outcomes for Study Session 2

2.1.1  Clinical classification of communicable diseases