Contagious diseases


Contagious diseases are spread by direct contact between infective and susceptible individuals or exposure of susceptible individuals to infective material. Most of the highly feared diseases of humans and animals that sweep through populations as major epidemics, sometimes causing high mortality and invariably causing economic losses, are contagious diseases. They include influenza, measles and poliomyelitis in humans and foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), peste des petits ruminants (PPR), contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP), classical (CSF) and African swine fever (ASF), influenza (particularly equine and highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI)) and Newcastle disease (ND) in animals. Smallpox and rinderpest, two of the most feared contagious diseases in humans and animals respectively have been declared globally eradicated; smallpox in 1980 and rinderpest in 2011. Many, perhaps most, of the other diseases are less susceptible to eradication for various reasons related to their epidemiological and/or immunological characteristics.

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