Examples of communicable, or infectious, diseases include hepatitis, polio, influenza, HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. These diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites are capable of spreading among people through the air, blood and other bodily fluids.
Additional examples of communicable diseases include Ebola, cholera and smallpox. While these result in more serious afflictions, even the common cold is an infectious disease. Other popular diseases in this category are MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and norovirus, a primary contributor to foodborne illness.
Influenza, which accounts for 36,000 deaths annually, contains many evolving viral strains that have the potential of causing a pandemic. Viral hepatitis, attributable to 1.4 million deaths per year, causes 78 percent of liver cancers and exacerbates the effects of HIV. The HIV virus attacks the immune system and makes people more vulnerable to other types of infections. Today, many people suffering from HIV live for 15 years before reaching the disease's final stage, AIDS.
Tuberculosis and malaria also prove to be indomitable fatal diseases that occur mainly in Africa. Tuberculosis is an airborne bacterial disease, while malaria is a parasitic disease communicated by mosquitoes. Polio is a viral disease that attacks the nervous system, and while it can cause permanent damage to children, it rarely advances fatally.