Communicable Diseases

Communicable diseases are those that spread by an infectious agent, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. Most of these diseases can be passed from person to person so the words “contagious” or “infectious” are often used when talking about communicable diseases.Sneeze

Some communicable disease spread though the air. Others require direct contact with a contaminated surface, food or beverage, blood or or other bodily fluid. In some cases, a bite from an infected animal or insect is also capable of spreading the disease. Some diseases can be transmitted in more than one way.

Practicing these healthy habits will help you avoid germs and keep communicable diseases from spreading:

  • Handle and prepare food safely. Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces often when preparing any food, especially raw meat. Always wash fruits and vegetables. Cook and keep foods at proper temperatures. Don’t leave food out; refrigerate promptly. Go to our Food & Consumer Safety page for more information.
  • Wash your hands frequently. Use soap and warm water whenever possible; if not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean hands. Check out the CDC’s handwashing page for more information.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces to kill germs. Cleaning with soap and water is usually enough. However, you can use an EPA certified disinfectant (look for the EPA registration number on the label), bleach solution, or rubbing alcohol.
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands. Check out the CDC’s Cover Your Cough page for more information.
  •  Avoid sharing personal items that can’t be disinfected, like toothbrushes and razors, or sharing towels between washes. Needles should never be shared, should only be used once, and then thrown away properly.
  • Get vaccinated.  There are vaccines for children and adults designed to provide protection against many communicable diseases. There are also vaccines that are recommended or required for travel to certain parts of the world. Go to our Vaccination page to learn more.
  • Avoid touching wild animals as they can spread infectious diseases to you and your pets. Coming into contact with the saliva, blood, urine, or feces of an infected animal could put you at risk. Go to our Insect and Animal-Borne Disease page for more information.
  • Stay home when you’re sick. Don’t go to work, school or other public places when you are ill to avoid spreading germs. Visit FighttheFlu.org for more information.

Click on the diseases below for more information.

Disease Reporting

The Department of Health is required by state law to collect and investigate reports of communicable diseases by physicians, hospitals, laboratories, and other healthcare providers in Allen County.

For more information, go to our Disease Reporting page.

Additional Resources

Communicable Disease Info from the CDC

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