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Communicable Disease

A communicable disease is one that is spread from one person to another through a variety of ways, such as contact with blood and body fluids, breathing in an airborne virus, or by being bitten by an insect.

Communicable diseases are spread depending on the specific disease or infectious agent. Some ways communicable diseases are spread:

  • through physical contact with an infected person, such as touch, sexual contact, fecal/oral transmission, or droplets
  • through contact with a contaminated surface or object, food, blood, or water
  • through bites from insects or animals capable of transmitting the disease
  • by travel through the air


Reporting of cases of communicable disease is important in the planning and evaluation of disease prevention and control programs, in the assurance of appropriate medical therapy, and in the detection of common-source outbreaks. New York State law mandates healthcare providers and laboratories report certain diseases or conditions to their local health department. Examples of reportable communicable diseases include influenza, measles, salmonella, sexually transmitted infections, and hepatitis A, B, and C. For more information about communicable disease reporting, visit https://www.health.ny.gov/forms/instructions/doh-389_instructions.pdf

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