Communicable diseases are also called infectious or transmissible diseases. They are primarily illnesses resulting from infection, presence and also the growth of disease-causing biologic agents in a person or even other hosts such as animals. Some infections are asymptomatic in that they have no symptoms at all and hence may not cause harm to an individual whereas others may be life threatening. Therefore, infection is different from infectious diseases because not all the infections cause diseases (Benjamin, 2015). Communicable diseases are the primary causes of diseases globally among the children. They are spread in various ways depending on the illness in question.
Some of the ways that they are transmitted include: touching, eating and breathing. They are also majorly carried in the body fluids such as blood, mucus, saliva, urine among others as well as through skin and others through hair (Benjamin, 2015). According to Benjamin, (2015) communicable diseases may be classified according to their mode of transition into:
• Respiratory diseases. They affect the head and chest and are spread through sneezing, coughing or breathing. They may also be transmitted through contact with saliva, nasal mucus, and eye discharge.
• Gastrointestinal diseases such as infectious diarrhea affecting the stomach and intestines. They are spread through contact with stool, vomit or contaminated surfaces, eating contaminated food as a well as drinking or bathing in contaminated water by stool.
• Dermatological diseases such as ringworms that affect the hair and skin. They are spread through touching of skin or hair, sharing of personal items such as clothes, hats, hairbrushes, and towels.
• Blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis B and HIV that affect the entire body. They are spread through blood contact onto the broken skin, blood transfusions, sharing needles or injections, piercings, as well as having sexual contact that involves the sharing of body fluids with an infected individual.
Some communicable diseases are treatable whereas others are not. However, one factor that is paramount is that they can be controlled hence avoiding getting the infections in the first place. Infectious diseases can be controlled through:
• Taking measures targeting the mode of transmission by interrupting the agents such as water, food and other vectors. It can be done through taking boiled or clean water or adding some chemicals to kill germs, sterilization of contaminated objects as well as disinfection of surfaces that pose a threat (Chin, 2000).
• Targeting the susceptible hosts can be another control method. It may involve vaccination which is the administration of vaccines to increase the body defense mechanisms against the specific diseases such as Tuberculosis (Chin, 2000).
• One may also maintain a healthy lifestyle by taking proper nutrition to improve one’s health and body defense against infections as well as limiting the exposure to the reservoirs of infection (Chin, 2000). It may include the use of condoms, use of insecticide in homes, maintaining personal hygiene such as washing hands among others.
• There is also the alternative of Chemoprophylaxis, which is the use of drugs on exposed susceptible hosts to prevent them from getting infected. For example, when an individual is traveling to a malaria-prone area they may take a prophylactic drug to protect them from getting developing malaria (Chin, 2000).
As a result of the controversy and alarming rates at which communicable diseases are found, they are shaped in different areas of the world by factors such as education, culture, fears as well as experience. Diverse parts of the world react differently to the diseases and holding varied sets of beliefs, myths and misconceptions on the same (Malloy & Marr, 2001). Therefore, as identified by Malloy & Marr (2001), there is the need for researchers, individual states and other international health organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) to build an approach to the diseases that is based on sensitivity and respect to the varied beliefs and practices already in place in an effort to avert resistance to change by the communities.