Difference between an infection and non-infectious disease

Diseases can be defined as alterations, to a lesser or greater degree, in the proper functioning of the organism or any of its parts. This can be caused by different internal and external pathogens. Similarly, it is a process that living beings go through when their normal health condition is affected by different reasons or factors, whether intrinsic or extrinsic.

Diseases can be classified according to the degree to which they occur, according to the chances of survival or according to their origin, with infectious and non-infectious diseases being in the latter group.

In this article, the differences between these two types of diseases are presented in order to provide our readers with more information about them and the causative agents, among other details.


An infection or infectious disease is a condition caused by different microbial pathogens that can be viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites or germs. These diseases require treatment with biological control agents of the specific pathogenic agents, since, otherwise, that pathogenic agent continues to reproduce, affecting the organism to a greater extent and in many cases it can cause death.

Infectious diseases are characterized by being highly contagious, due to the high propagation capacity of the causative agent, the ability of these agents to settle and multiply in the host organism, and pathogenicity, that is, the ability to cause disease.

The main routes of infection are oral-fecal when the person ingests food or drinks contaminated with feces, respiratory when the person inhales bacteria spread in the air by another contaminated living being or by direct contact with another infected person. Infectious diseases generally go through three phases: the incubation period (time of implantation and development of the bacteria, fungus or germ), the prodromal period (when the first symptoms begin to appear) and the clinical period (when symptoms and signs of the disease and are diagnosed by various tests).

Non-infectious diseases

Noninfectious diseases are those that are not caused by microbial pathogens. Among them, four main types are distinguished: deficiency, degenerative, congenital and mental. Deficiency diseases are those caused by the lack or lack of substances necessary for the proper functioning of the body, such as rickets, which is caused by the lack of vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus in the blood.

To mention and define some, degenerative diseases are caused by the progressive deterioration of a particular organ or the whole organism such as Parkinson’s disease, congenital diseases are those that occur from the person’s birth such as hemophilia and mental illnesses are those that alter the functioning of the brain and consequently affect the mood and intellectual capacities of people such as schizophrenia.

The causes for the appearance of these diseases are diverse and are usually associated with the environment in which one lives, the social environment or the genetics of both parents.

Having indicated the definitions of the terms that concern us, the following table is presented where the most outstanding differences between infection and non-infectious diseases are indicated:

Infectious diseases Non-infectious diseases
They are produced by microorganisms such as fungi, viruses, bacteria, germs, parasites. They are not produced by microbes but by internal and external causes such as the environment, parents, environment, among others.
They are very contagious. They are not contagious.
They are treated by controlling agents of the pathogenic agent. They are treated with different medications or with psychological treatments.

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