Difference Between Infectious and Contagious

Diseases and infections come without notice. At most times, such diseases and infections have varying symptoms and modes of transmission that may be confused as identical Infectious and contagious are two such examples of diseases.

The terminologies infectious and contagious vary in several aspects.

Infectious vs Contagious 

The main difference between infectious and contagious is that infectious refers to those diseases or infections caused due to contact with bacteria, protozoa, viruses, parasitic worms, and fungi. On the other hand, contagious refers to those infections or diseases which are transferrable from one individual to another.

Infectious vs Contagious

Infectious refers to an infection that results from interaction with one or more pathogenic agents. In addition, the agents of infectious diseases are microorganisms that are present in the environment. The treatment of every infectious disease depends on the severity and the impact of the disease on the immune system. Doctor consultation is pivotal for some infectious diseases. 

Contagious translates to communicable by contact. Contagious diseases are a type of infectious disease. Moreover, contagious diseases are transferable in a variety of ways.

The most significant mode of transmission is physical contact. Several precautionary steps can be put in place to avoid the spread of infectious diseases. 

Comparison Table Between Infectious and Contagious 

Parameters of ComparisonInfectious Contagious 
MeaningInfectious refers to those diseases or infections which are caused by bacteria, protozoa, viruses, parasitic worms, and fungi.Contagious refers to those infections or diseases which are transferable from one individual to another. 
Differing FactorNot all infectious diseases are contagious.All contagious diseases are infectious. 
Origin The word infectious originates from the Latin word inficere meaning dip in, taint. The word contagious originates from the Latin word contagiosusmeaning contact or touching together. 
EffectInfectious diseases usually have internal effects for the body.Contagious diseases yield external effects for the body. 
ExamplesExamples of infectious diseases are  E. coli, malaria, measles, mumps, diphtheria, and polio.Examples of contagious diseases are chickenpox, common cold, and influenza. 

What is Infectious?

By definition, infectious refers to an infection caused by one or more pathogenic agents. Examples of infectious agents include bacteria, protozoa, viruses, parasitic worms, and fungi.

An infectious agent or disease refers to the one capable of transferring rapidly from one source to another. There are several examples of infectious diseases. 

Some examples of infectious diseases include chickenpox, E. coli, influenza, malaria, measles, mumps, common cold, diphtheria, polio, pneumonia, rocky mountain spotted fever, rubella, SARS, tetanus, tuberculosis, and whooping cough.

The agents of infectious diseases are microorganisms that are present in the environment. 

Although every disease has its specific symptoms, there are some common symptoms of infectious diseases. The symptoms include fever, fatigue, diarrhoea, and muscle aches.

The treatment of every infectious disease depends on the severity and the impact of the disease on the immune system. Doctor consultation is pivotal for some infectious diseases. 

The treatment of infectious diseases generally involves the use of antibiotics. In the case of viruses, treatment may use antiviral medications. Over the years, some diseases have become resistant to drugs.

Treatment for fungal infections involves the use of antifungals. To conclude, infectious diseases have several symptoms and treatments.  

What is Contagious?

By definition, contagious refers to those diseases that are capable of bodily transmission from an infected person or object. Contagious translates to communicable by contact.

Contagious diseases are a subcategory of infectious diseases. Thus, infectious and communicable diseases are contagious diseases. 

Examples of contagious diseases include cold, flu, strep throat, and chickenpox. Contagious diseases may be spread in several ways. The most common mode of transmission is physical contact.

For instance, chickenpox is a contagious disease that spreads from the infected person to another individual when they come in contact.

Another mode of transmission of contagious diseases is through air particles when the infected person coughs or sneezes.

For example, cold or flu is a contagious disease that transmits from one infected person to another through air particles. Infectious diseases may spread by touching or using the products of the infected person.

Sexually Transmitted diseases are another category of contagious diseases that spread through oral, physical or anal sex. Several precautionary steps must be put in place to avoid the spread of infectious diseases.

An individual must wash his hands before eating and maintain a distance from the infected person at all times. 

Main Differences Between Infectious and Contagious 

  1. Infectious refers to those diseases or infections caused by bacteria, protozoa, viruses, parasitic worms, and fungi. On the other hand, contagious refers to those infections or diseases that are transferable from one individual to another.
  2. Not all infectious diseases are contagious. But, all contagious diseases are infectious.
  3. Examples of infectious diseases are E. coli, malaria, measles, mumps, diphtheria, and polio. On the other hand, examples of contagious diseases are chickenpox, common cold, and influenza.
  4. The word infectious originates from the Latin word inficere meaning dip in, taint. In contrast, the word contagious originates from the Latin word contagiosus meaning contact or touching together.
  5. Infectious diseases usually have internal effects on the body. On the other hand, contagious diseases yield external effects for the body. 
Difference Between Infectious and Contagious

Conclusion

Thus, infectious and contagious vary on several grounds. However, the most significant difference is how contagious or infectious infections are transmitted from one individual to another.

Infectious diseases are an outcome of several microorganisms. Contagious diseases, however, are infectious and communicable diseases. The treatment of every contagious and infectious disease varies due to several reasons.

While there are several areas of interaction between infectious and contagious, they should not be confused to mean the same. Infectious diseases produce effects that are internal for the body.

On the other hand, contagious diseases produce effects that are external to the body. Thus, infectious and contagious diseases have considerable differences. 

References

  1. https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/contagious.html#:~:text=Some%20%E2%80%94%20but%20not%20all%20%E2%80%94%20infectious,not%20contagious%20from%20another%20human  
  2. https://www.dictionary.com/e/contagious-vs-infectious-the-difference-can-be-important/ 
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