What are communicable and noncommunicable diseases?

Review the links below to learn more about two major types of diseases.

Communicable diseases, also known as infectious diseases:

Noncommunicable diseases, also known as chronic diseases:

What are some examples of communicable and noncommunicable diseases?

Create a Venn diagram to illustrate what communicable and noncommunicable diseases have in common, as well as what distinguishes these types of diseases from one another.

How do communicable diseases affect the world?

Look at the leading causes of death for low-income and high-income countries

Listen to the stories below from Peace Corps Volunteers who worked with their communities to reduce the spread of communicable diseases.



Malaria prevention in Senegal 

HIV/AIDS prevention in Namibia 

What resources for disease prevention were these Peace Corps Volunteers helping their communities access?

How do noncommunicable diseases affect the world?

Noncommunicable – or chronic – diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in the world.  They make up a greater percentage of deaths in high-income countries than in low-income countries, including 7 out of every 10 deaths in the U.S. However, the total number of chronic disease deaths is still highest among developing countries.   

Review each of the major risk factors for noncommunicable disease:

Which of these factors are most prevalent in your community? What do you think are the most effective ways to reduce these risks?

Read about how two Peace Corps Volunteers worked with their communities to reduce risk factors for noncommunicable disease.



Keep Fit Healthy Living program, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Happy Hearts program, Ecuador 

Researching a communicable or noncommunicable disease

Research a communicable or noncommunicable disease of your choice. Find out the following information:

Use the World Health Organization website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, and other sources to help you find this information.

How do communicable and noncommunicable diseases affect people’s lives?

Now, imagine the challenges facing a person living with the condition you researched. You will write a series of three fictional, but realistic, journal entries from the perspective of a person who has experienced the disease. Your journal will include a brief introduction and entries about:

1)      Their physical symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment

2)      How the disease affected the person, their family, and their daily life

3)      What should be done to prevent the disease and what resources are necessary?