contagious disease

noun

plural contagious diseases
: an infectious disease (such as influenza, measles, or tuberculosis) that is transmitted by contact with an infected individual or infected bodily discharges or fluids (such as respiratory droplets), by contact with a contaminated surface or object, or by ingestion of contaminated food or water

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

Examples of contagious disease in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Here’s what parents need to know about the potentially debilitating and deadly condition, one of the most contagious diseases the world has ever seen. Erin Prater, Fortune Well, 27 Jan. 2024 Those circumstances include snow, ice, high water, utility outages and contagious disease. Cynthia Howell, Arkansas Online, 8 Nov. 2023 The highly contagious disease, which has no treatment other than bed rest, fluids and fever control, is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable infant mortality, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Paul Sisson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Feb. 2024 Avoiding the Spread of Measles According to the World Health Organization (WHO), measles is one of the world’s most contagious diseases. Korin Miller, Health, 19 Jan. 2024 But this all depends on the trajectory of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), the very contagious disease that caused egg (and chicken) prices to go up in the first place, says Anderson. Abby Wilson, Better Homes & Gardens, 27 Dec. 2023 These advocates, including the author, call for a regime of nearly complete freedom of migration worldwide, with rare exceptions for preventing terrorism or the spread of contagious disease. Nathan Smith, Foreign Affairs, 28 Feb. 2017 Moreover, the white paint and garish red mouth may suggest contagious disease, and the clowns’ unpredictability can be discombobulating. Scott Lafee, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Dec. 2023 Measles is such a contagious disease that before vaccines were developed nearly everyone contracted the virus in childhood. Helen Branswell, STAT, 16 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'contagious disease.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1529, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of contagious disease was in 1529

Dictionary Entries Near contagious disease

Cite this Entry

“Contagious disease.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/contagious%20disease. Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Medical Definition

contagious disease

noun
: an infectious disease (as influenza, measles, or tuberculosis) that is transmitted by contact with an infected individual or infected bodily discharges or fluids (as respiratory droplets), by contact with a contaminated surface or object, or by ingestion of contaminated food or water

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

More from Merriam-Webster on contagious disease

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