A communicable disease (usually caused by a microorganism – bacteria, virus or fungus) can be passed from one organism to another. It can also be known as an infectious disease.

A non-communicable disease (usually caused by lifestyle or genetic abnormalities) is not passed from one organism to another.

A person free from both types of disease is described as being healthy.

The presence of disease has an effect on society, as unhealthy people may not be able to work and require care.

The NHS spends billions of pounds per year treating and looking after sick people.

Most of the NHS budget is spent on medicine and the salaries of doctors and nurses.

Viral communicable diseases

DiseaseMicroorganism Spread Control/Prevention/Treatment
HIV (leading to AIDS)Virus Exchange of body fluids during sex. Infected blood.Prevention: Using a condom. Drug addicts not sharing needles. Control: Drugs currently control the condition.
Cold/fluVirusAirbornePrevention: Flu vaccination.
Human papilloma virus (HPV)VirusSexual contactPrevention: HPV vaccination (offered to 12–13 years old girls to protect against cervical cancer).