Fact Checked

What Are the Different Types of Infectious Disease?

Meshell Powell
Meshell Powell

An infectious disease can be caused by a variety of pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Some of the more commonly known types of infectious diseases include influenza, infectious mononucleosis, and a variety of sexually transmitted diseases. Meningitis, pneumonia, and tinea are additional examples of infectious disease types. Treatment for these diseases depends on the underlying cause as well as the overall health of the patient and should be supervised by a physician.

Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is a well-known type of infectious disease. This is a viral disease and may include symptoms such as sore throat, muscle pain, and coughing. Treatment usually involves rest and the use of over-the-counter medications designed to treat individual symptoms. Pneumonia can be caused by a virus and may lead to potentially life-threatening respiratory complications if not treated promptly by a doctor or other medical professional.

Tinea is an infectious disease that causes athlete's foot and other skin problems.
Tinea is an infectious disease that causes athlete's foot and other skin problems.

Meningitis is an inflammation involving the protective covering of the brain or spinal cord and may have bacterial or viral origins. Infectious mononucleosis, sometimes referred to as the kissing disease, is caused by a virus and may cause symptoms similar to those associated with the flu. Over-the-counter or prescription medications may be given to help treat some of the most bothersome infections, but viral infections tend to go away on their own within a few days or weeks.

Vaccinations may help prevent infectious diseases.
Vaccinations may help prevent infectious diseases.

Gonorrhea is a type of infectious disease that is caused by bacteria and is spread through sexual contact with an infected partner. Without treatment, permanent infertility may develop, and an infected mother can pass the disease to her child during a vaginal delivery. Pneumonia can sometimes be caused by a bacterial infection, and treatment depends on whether the disease is viral or bacterial in nature.

Influenza and mononucleosis are two highly contagious diseases.
Influenza and mononucleosis are two highly contagious diseases.

Tinea is a common type of infectious disease and is caused by a fungal infection. This disease leads to redness, itching, and scaling or peeling of the skin. Ringworm, athlete's foot, and jock itch are all forms of tinea and are treated with over-the-counter or prescription anti-fungal creams or sprays.

Candida is an infectious disease similar to a fungal infection. This type of infection is caused by an overgrowth of yeast and is responsible for conditions such as thrush in infants and vaginal yeast infections in girls and women. Over-the-counter medications are often successful in treating vaginal yeast infections. Thrush, which affects the mouth, typically requires the use of a prescription medication. Medicated diaper cream may be prescribed to treat diaper rashes caused by yeast infections.

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Discussion Comments


I had gone to ask my doctor her advice about my right eyelid drooping, but she was not there and the nurse told me I needed to get to the ER. I have been having recurring symptoms for the past two years. There were was no rhyme or reason for the symptoms.

I ended up in an ER in Gainesville, FL. The first ER I went to in Lake City said they would do some tests and to see my primary in one or two days. They did nothing, nor did they give me anything even though it was apparent I was seriously ill. My sister-in-law is a paramedic and we went home and called her. She said it was up to me, but she would go to the ER right then.

They knew I was sick and had signs of a stroke but they could not figure out what it was. They could see that something was wrong, so they admitted me and I ended up staying for four or five days.

I was released but still no one knew what it was -- just that something was wrong. I was referred to a hematologist, neurologist and ENT.

The first visit was to the hematologist. They took eight vials of blood then did a bone marrow biopsy and after asking us more questions they took another 16 vials of blood. He wanted to hear about all the symptoms because it might mean something without me realizing it.

The neurologist was not interested in listening to me or letting me explain about the symptoms. She was very rude and did not let me talk about these symptoms because they were not part of why I was seeing her, in her opinion. She did some testing on my hands and feet. I asked her about my eyelid drooping.

She asked me what I was more interested in fixing, my hands/wrists or my eye. She knew I was ticked off and I have told their office I am not interested in being seen by this doctor again, so now they have made it difficult, by saying I have to start over even though these doctors are in the same office. The doc who referred me to them was not surprised the woman doctor was like this and said something.

Anyway, even though she did not indicate a follow up nor did she do the referral for surgery she stated was needed, I had to find out that some of the lab work indicated I needed to be seen by a rheumatologist, but since I don’t want to see another doctor they are trying to make me start all over.

I have since found out I do have severe sleep apnea and I also have to see an infectious disease consultant due to me having chronic Q Fever which can and has caused issues throughout my body.

I was told I could not infect people, but that this is a rare disease, even more so as it is more common among veterinarians or people who work with animals, which I do not. All it can take is to breathe in one bacterium and it will replicate. Why it was and is so hard to detect is that it goes in and hides in the cells.

One of the ways it is treated is that I have to take antibiotics for 18 months to two years or longer. I also have to find out what damage it has already done to my body.

I am also at risk of having a stroke due to this disease even though I am only 40 and other than my white blood cells being elevated, all my physicals have been great.


@lovealot - Both types of pneumonia are infections of the lungs. The cause and the treatment are different.

Viral pneumonia is caused by a virus. You get pretty sick and cough a lot, but people with bacterial pneumonia are usually more seriously ill. They even may have to go into the hospital.

Bacterial pneumonia is caused by bacteria that gets into the lungs. It won't go away unless you take a round or two of antibiotics. A viral infection won't go away any faster if an antibiotic is taken.


I have had pneumonia twice in my life. The first time, the doctor said that I had viral pneumonia or as he called it "walking pneumonia." The doctor didn't give me any antibiotic. He said I didn't need one. He said that it would go away on its own in a few weeks. I was tired, weak and was running a temperature, but I could be up and around.

The second time I got pneumonia, the doctor said it was caused by a bacterial infection. He told me I had to start antibiotics right away. I was very sick and tired and was coughing like crazy.

Does anyone know what the difference is between these two types of pneumonia?


I had just started a new job and came down with mono. I have never had a sore throat like that and thought it was strep. When I saw the doctor they confirmed that I had mono.

It was the worst thing I have ever gone through. My whole body was so weak I could hardly lift the spoon to my mouth to eat some soup. Between the fatigue, fever, weakness and horrible sore throat, I was off work for over a week.

Even when I went back I was very weak and could do nothing when I got home but head straight to bed. It took a long time for my immune system to rebuild itself after that.

I understand why mononucleosis is on the list of infectious diseases because this is something you don't wish on anyone else.


Strep throat is the infectious disease I get the most. I get a fever around 100 degrees, and my throat swells so much that I can barely swallow.

This summer, I got strep, and I had to take steroids for the first time. Within a day, my sore throat was gone. I was so impressed by how fast this medicine worked!

I had to take antibiotics along with the steroids, and they worked to help eliminate the bacteria. The steroids gave my immune system a boost and made the swelling go away. I felt better within 24 hours, but I wasn’t actually well until about 10 days later.


I got mononucleosis when I was ten. It was awful! I had to miss school for a couple of weeks because of the fever, and my throat stayed sore for a long time.

Sucking on cough drops helped soothe my throat enough that I could swallow. I remember thinking that I would never get better. I had never had a sickness last that long before, and I kind of lost hope that it would go away.

In about three weeks, the fever disappeared and my sore throat downgraded to a scratchy throat. I’m glad that people can only get this disease once in their lives!


I remember having the flu as a teenager and being in a miserable daze. The sore throat agitated me, and the fever kept me out of my head. I would wake up talking to people who weren’t there, and I would be very hot.

Ever since that year, I have gotten a flu shot every season. Some people believe that the flu shot makes them sick, but for me, it does the opposite. Not only do I not catch the flu - I also don’t get any colds until spring when the shot wears off.


I had an extremely contagious infectious disease as a child. I had to stay in the hospital for five days, and no one besides my parents could visit me, because the danger of anyone catching it was too great.

The disease was called roto virus. It made me have diarrhea every few minutes, and I vomited so often that I had nothing left but bile to throw up. I would have dehydrated very soon, so I had to have an IV and medicine to stop the vomiting.

There was no cure for the virus, so all they could do was control the symptoms and keep me hydrated. That’s why I had to stay in there so long. When I finally got to come home, I was weak for days.

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    • Tinea is an infectious disease that causes athlete's foot and other skin problems.
      By: roblan
      Tinea is an infectious disease that causes athlete's foot and other skin problems.
    • Vaccinations may help prevent infectious diseases.
      By: カシス
      Vaccinations may help prevent infectious diseases.
    • Influenza and mononucleosis are two highly contagious diseases.
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      Influenza and mononucleosis are two highly contagious diseases.
    • Pneumonia can be caused by a virus, and may lead to life-threatening respiratory complications.
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      Pneumonia can be caused by a virus, and may lead to life-threatening respiratory complications.
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