communicable disease

noun

plural communicable diseases
: an infectious disease (such as cholera, hepatitis, influenza, malaria, measles, or tuberculosis) that is transmissible by contact with infected individuals or their bodily discharges or fluids (such as respiratory droplets, blood, or semen), by contact with contaminated surfaces or objects, by ingestion of contaminated food or water, or by direct or indirect contact with disease vectors (such as mosquitoes, fleas, or mice)

Note: The terms communicable disease and contagious disease are often used interchangeably. However, communicable diseases such as malaria or schistosomiasis that are spread by contact with disease vectors are not typically considered to be "contagious" diseases since they cannot be spread from direct contact with another person.

Word History

First Known Use

1785, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of communicable disease was in 1785

Dictionary Entries Near communicable disease

Cite this Entry

“Communicable disease.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/communicable%20disease. Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

Medical Definition

communicable disease

noun
: an infectious disease (as cholera, hepatitis, influenza, malaria, measles, or tuberculosis) that is transmissible by contact with infected individuals or their bodily discharges or fluids (as respiratory droplets, blood, or semen), by contact with contaminated surfaces or objects, by ingestion of contaminated food or water, or by direct or indirect contact with disease vectors (as mosquitoes, fleas, or mice)

Note: The terms communicable disease and contagious disease are often used interchangeably. However, communicable diseases (as malaria or schistosomiasis) that are spread by contact with disease vectors are not typically considered to be "contagious" diseases since they cannot be spread from direct contact with another person.

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