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Departments » Public Health » Communicable Disease
General Information

Communicable Disease

Communicable disease (or infectious disease) is an illness that can be transmitted from person to person or from an animal to a person. The spread can also happen from airborne viruses or bacteria, but also through blood or other bodily fluid. Local health departments are required to report some 80 communicable diseases.

How to Prevent Communicable Disease

#1 Handle & Prepare Food Properly


Food can carry germs. Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces often when preparing any food, especially raw meat. Always wash fruits and vegetables. Cook and keep foods at proper temperatures. Don't leave food out - refrigerate promptly.

#2 Wash Hands Often

Clean your hands when:
- Coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose
- Using the bathroom or changing Diapers
- Eating; cooking or serving food
- In contact with someone who is sick
- Treating a cut or wound
- After Touching animals
- Handling garbage
- Touching frequently touched areas (doorknobs) or contaminated items (dirty laundry or dishes).


#3 Clean Commonly Used Surfaces

Germs can live on many surfaces. Clean your kitchen and bathroom regularly, especially if someone in the house has been or is currently sick.


#4 Cough & Sneeze into your Sleeve

If you are sick, the air that comes out of your mouth when you cough or sneeze may contain germs. Someone close by can breathe in your air, or touch a surface contaminated with your germs, and become sick. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your shirt sleeve-not into your hands.

#5 Don't Share Personal Items

Avoid sharing personal items that are very hard to disinfect. (razors, toothbrush, etc.)


#6 Get Vaccinated

Vaccines can prevent many infectious diseases

#7 Avoid Touching Wild Animals

You and your pets should avoid touching wild animals which can carry germs that cause infectious diseases


#8 Stay Home When Sick



When you are sick, stay home and rest. You will get well sooner, and will not spread germs.



Source: Communicable Disease Control and Prevention; San Francisco Department of Public Health
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