Communicable diseases are those that are transmittable from one person, or animal, to another. The disease may spread directly, via another species (vector) or via the environment. The spread of disease in the community is determined by environmental and social conditions that favour the infectious agent, and the relative immunity of the population.
Healthcare associated infections (HCAI) are those infections which are acquired as a result of healthcare, often among people being cared for in hospital. HCAI are a public health problem because infections can spread quickly among hospitalised patients who are already experiencing other health problems and may have worse outcomes than similar infections in previously healthy people. Mandatory surveillance for certain types of HCAI is undertaken by Public Health England (PHE).
Public Health England provides local health protection services and leads the public health response to all communicable disease outbreaks and emergencies that need specialist expertise. They give local government, especially the Director of Public Health, access to specialised advice and support, which help to support the improvement of the health and well-being of their local population. The prevention and control of healthcare associated infections is led by infection prevention and control teams within NHS organisations, supported where appropriate by PHE.
For more details read our communicable diseases information (PDF document.)