List of Common Infectious Diseases and Key Terms

, Staff Editor
Updated June 25, 2020
Hepatitis vaccine report
    Hepatitis vaccine report
    Paulus Rusyanto / EyeEm / Getty

Are you one of the many people wondering, “What is an infectious disease?” Infectious diseases can be caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites, and they affect a part or all of an organism. A list of examples of infectious diseases can help you understand this key term.

List of Common Viral Infectious Diseases

Viral diseases are common in humans, but viruses don’t always cause infectious diseases. How many of these infectious viral diseases have you heard of?

  • Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
  • Common cold
  • Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
  • Dengue
  • Diarrheal disease
  • Ebola virus disease (EVD)
  • Flu
  • Hepatitis C
  • Measles
  • Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)
  • Monkeypox
  • Rabies
  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  • Rubella
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
  • Smallpox
  • Viral meningitis
  • Yellow Fever
  • Zika

List of Common Bacterial Infectious Diseases

Many infectious diseases caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics.

  • Anthrax
  • Bacterial pneumonia
  • Cholera
  • Gonorrhea
  • Leprosy
  • Lyme disease
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • Plague
  • Syphilis
  • Tetanus
  • Tuberculosis
  • Whooping cough

List of Common Fungal and Parasitic Infectious Diseases

While infectious diseases can be caused by fungi and parasites, they’re not as common as those caused by viruses and bacteria.

  • Bilharzia - parasitic
  • Leishmaniasis - parasitic
  • Malaria - parasitic
  • Ringworm - fungal
  • Thrush (invasive form) - fungal
  • Valley fever - fungal

Common Infectious Disease Terminology

When you’re learning about infectious diseases, it’s important to know what all the key terms related to these illnesses mean.

  • Antibiotic - Substance or chemical that kills or stops the growth of bacteria.
  • Antibiotic resistance - Mechanism in bacteria that blocks the effects of antibiotics.
  • CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Endemic - Disease specifically present among a group of people.
  • Epidemic - Sudden increase in the level of a disease in a specific group over a certain time period.
  • Etiology - Study of the causes of diseases and their modes of operation.
  • FDA - Food and Drug Administration
  • NCID - National Center for Infectious Diseases
  • Pandemic - Increase in the occurrence of a disease over a large region that is greater than what was expected.
  • Vaccine - Inoculation used to stimulate antibodies in your body so you will develop immunity against a certain disease
  • WHO - World Health Organization

Arm Yourself With Knowledge

The more you know about infectious diseases, the better you can protect your own health. Now that you have a good handle on what infectious diseases are, extend your knowledge by learning things like the difference between an epidemic and a pandemic.