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The Tropical Diseases Frequently Asked Questions

Apr 18, 2008
There are many questions regarding tropical diseases due to the extensive International travel. Passengers, whether they are business or pleasure, want to know what tropical diseases they may encounter at their destination and how to prepare for them. Here is a listing of popular questions regarding tropical diseases and the answers to them.

What is a "neglected tropical disease"?

Neglected tropical diseases are called that because they occur in the most impoverished populations of the developing world and are thus neglected because their governments cannot afford to treat the people who contract them. They do not normally flourish in areas where there is economic or healthcare support so they are isolated to the remote, rural, urban slums or conflict zones of developing areas of the world. They go mostly unnoticed by the more economically stable countries.

What exactly is dengue fever?

Dengue fever is a viral tropical disease transmitted by the bite of the Aedes mosquito that has been infected with one of four dengue viruses. The symptoms are flu-like and the disease is prone to be contracted by infants, young children and weakened adults.

What is African sleeping sickness?

It is technically called human African trypanosomiasis and is a widespread tropical disease transmitted by the infected tsetse fly. Individuals at risk are those who live in the rural areas of East, West and Central Africa or those who travel there.

How can we rid the world of leprosy?

There needs to be awareness programs aimed at the developing countries where leprosy is still an active tropical disease. The stigma attached to leprosy needs to be removed so individuals who have it can seek medical help. There needs to be adequate healthcare and drugs available to those who need it.

Should children be vaccinated against yellow fever?

Yes, the best way to prevent yellow fever is for those individuals who live in areas where yellow fever is active to be vaccinated against it. Individuals who are traveling to those areas should also receive the vaccination. The yellow fever 17 D vaccine is safe and is very effective if administered more than a week before exposure.

Is guinea worm caused by an actual worm?

The tropical disease guinea worm is indeed an actual worm. It is a large roundworm that can be ingested by drinking contaminated water. The disease is normally manifested by a painful blister on the leg.

Which mosquito transmits malaria?

Malaria is transmitted by the female anopheles mosquito. The disease is caused by a one-celled parasite (plasmodium) that they mosquito has picked up from infected people when they bite them.

What can I do to protect myself from tropical diseases?

Only drink bottled water while traveling internationally. Eat only well cooked food and skin any fruit you might eat. Never eat food that has been left out. Use quality sleeping nets and insect repellant. Do not go outside between dusk and dawn. Call your doctor for an appointment at least 6 weeks before leaving for a foreign country to receive any protection from tropical diseases in the area, that are available like antimalaria medicine, other preventatives like vaccinations.
About the Author
Scott Meyers is a staff writer for Its Entirely Natural, a resource for helping you achieve a naturally healthy body, mind, and spirit. You may contact our writers through the web site. Follow this link for more information on Tropical Diseases.
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