Traveling to a country in Africa anytime soon? Make sure the following things are in your suitcase:
- Mosquito Repellents – Mosquito borne diseases are very common in Africa
- Prophylactics – HIV/AID prevalence on the the continent is no joke.
- Filter – Do not drink dirty water
- Vaccines – While these may not be able to go in your suitcase, make sure you get the required vaccines before you hop on the airplane.
10 Most Common Diseases in Africa
#10 – Malaria
Malaria is another mosquito-borne infectious disease common in Africa. The female Anopheles mosquito transmits the virus it bites an individual. Ten to fifteen days after the mosquito bite, an individual may experience fever, headaches, vomiting, and lethargy. Yellow skin, coma or even death occurs in the more serious cares.
Yellow skin, coma or even death occurs in the more serious cares. In 2015, 90% of the 296 million cases and 731,000 deaths occurred in Africa. Treatment of malaria infected persons deplete the resources of many African countries. Stock up on those repellents.
#9 – HIV/AIDS
Human Immunodeficiency Virus is an infection that weakens the immune system by destroying white blood cells. This leaves the body vulnerable to other diseases and infection like pneumonia. HIV sometimes may develop into the Acquired Immune Deficiency.
Africa accounts for 70% of all the world’s HIV cases and HIV related deaths. Pandemic levels exist in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and Zambia. Africans and anyone planning to travel to sub-Saharan Africa, a region in which HIV infection is very common, wrap it up, do not share needles or come in contact with anyone’s blood.
#8 – Dengue
Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease found in the tropics. An infected female Aedes type mosquito spreads the virus when she feeds on an individual. After the individual becomes infected, it takes between 3-14 days before symptoms are seen. These symptoms include
These symptoms include headache, fever, muscle and joint pains and vomiting. Some persons do not show any symptoms and the dengue disease becomes life threatening in only a few cases. Dengue is an endemic disease in mant countries in Africa.
#7 – Tuberculosis
The bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes tuberculosis, an infectious disease that affects the lungs. Tuberculous only gets serious or fatal if it is left untreated. As this infectious disease progresses (becomes active), persons develop a chronic cough, sometimes with blood in the mucus. fever, night sweat and rapid weight loss.
It is an airborne disease and so it is spread when persons with active tuberculosis cough, sneeze, spit or speak. An estimated 29% of reported cases originate in Africa and 34% of the deaths from TB also occurs in Africa.
#6 – Cholera
Cholera is an infection of the small intestines. It results in mild to severe diarrhea which if left untreated can be fatal. Sunken eyes, wrinkled hands and feet are some of the traits shown by those with cholera. It is spread by water and food contaminated with feces containing the bacterium, Vibrio cholerae.
There are vaccines available for cholera. However, in the case that it is contracted, fluids, antibiotics and food high in potassium are used to treat this disease. Despite measures to eradicate cholera, sub-Saharan Africa experiences frequent outbreaks and death from cholera more than any other region in the world.
#5 – Yellow Fever
Yellow fever is a viral disease spread by the bite of an infected female Aedes aegypti mosquito. Symptoms of yellow fever include headache, fever, chills, loss of appetite, muscle pains and vomiting. The incubation period lasts
According to the WHO, there are 200,000 cases and 30,000 deaths annually with 90% of the cases and deaths occurring in Africa. The good news is that vaccines to prevent yellow fever are available.
#4 – Dysentery
Dysentery is the inflammation of the intestines. It takes two forms: amoebic and bacillary. Symptoms include blood, fever, abdominal pain, flatulence, dehydration and weight loss . To alleviate symptoms or to treat the disease, doctors use, antibiotics, antiparasetic medications or oral rehydration therapy.
Over the last 65 years, regions in Africa have seen dysentery epidemics. Countries in Central Africa still experience annual outbreaks of dysentery. The large number of persons, mostly children, it affects make it one of the most common diseases in Africa.
#3 – African Trypanosomiasis
African trypanosomiasis, also known as sleeping sickness, is transmitted by the bite of an infected tsetse fly. In the initial stage of contraction, persons have fevers, headaches, itchiness, and joint pains. As the disease progresses persons suffer from confusion, poor coordination, numbness and trouble sleeping.
There are treatments available but the African countries with the sleeping sickness have poor heath care facilitates. Currently, approximately 11,000 people have the disease. In 2015, there were 2,800 new infections and 3,500 people deaths. Over the last ten years ,70% of the reported cases were from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
#2 – River Blindness
Persons contract Onchocerciasis, river blindness, when black fly repeatedly bites an individual and leaves the parasitic worm Onchocerca volvulus behind. The worm goes inside the individual and creates larvae which then comes up to the skin. The black flies live near rives hence the name of this disease.
Symptoms include severe itching, bumps under the skin and loss of some vision and in extreme cases total blindness. There is no vaccine to prevent the contraction of this disease. According to WHO, more than 99% of infected people live in 31 African countries. These figures make river blindness one of the most common diseases in Africa.
#1 – Pneumonia
Pneumonia is a respiratory infection that causes inflammation in the lungs. Causes of this deadly infection include bacteria, virus and fungi. Persons with this disease have difficulty breathing. Pneumonia has taken many lives across the world.
In Africa, the people are even more susceptible as they have weak immune systems. In 2015 an estimated 500,000 persons, mostly children under five, died from pneumonia in Africa.