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Tropical Diseases

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What Do You Mean By Tropical Diseases?

Definition: Tropical diseases are diseases that are only found in tropical and subtropical regions or are specific to them. In temperate areas, the diseases are less common, owing to the presence of a cold season, which reduces the bug population by forcing hibernation.

Tropical Disease Meaning: Upon being asked about tropical disease meaning, we can say that all diseases that are mostly seen in the tropics are referred to as tropical diseases. All communicable and noncommunicable diseases, genetic disorders, and disease induced by dietary deficiencies or environmental circumstances (such as heat, humidity, and altitude) that occur between and alongside the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn belts are included in this phrase.

What is Tropical Medicine?

Tropical medicine meaning: Upon being asked about tropical medicine meaning, we can say that Tropical medicine is an interdisciplinary speciality of medicine that deals with health issues that are peculiar to tropical and subtropical regions, are more pervasive, or are more difficult to control.

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Tropical Viral Infections

Travel to subtropical and tropical countries is on the rise, and so is the number of suspected viral infections contracted while on the road. Furthermore, both legal and illegal immigrants may bring illnesses acquired abroad with them. Some of these infections are endemic to Australia, but because they are more widespread elsewhere, they are observed more frequently among returned travellers. Hepatitis A, B, HIV, seasonal influenza, measles, mumps, and rubella are among them. Furthermore, there are a number of infectious agents that are exotic or unusual in Australia and are a diagnostic issue in persons who have recently arrived from elsewhere.

Dengue virus infections are the most serious of them, and they have been on the rise globally in recent decades. Arboviruses like chikungunya and the Japanese encephalitis virus must also be taken into account. Nipah virus, hantaviruses, rabies virus, and viruses that cause viral haemorrhagic fever are all significant but rare viruses. In recent years, Asia has seen the advent of new pathogens such as the SARS coronavirus, avian influenza virus, Nipah virus, and others. This presentation will focus on exotic viruses and the diagnostic approach to probable viral diseases acquired while travelling abroad.

Environmental and biological characteristics that enable high levels of diversification of pathogens, vectors, and hosts, as well as social variables that undermine efforts to control infectious diseases, are the main reasons why infectious diseases thrive in such areas.

Tropical diseases are infectious diseases that are disproportionately more common than non-infectious diseases, and tropical medicine has evolved as an important discipline for studying them.

Common Tropical Diseases

Tuberculosis: Due to the interaction between tuberculosis and HIV epidemics, tuberculosis is the major cause of death related to infectious diseases worldwide, and its incidence is on the rise in tropical areas. This disease mostly affects young adults in many parts of the world, and the pathogen's developing resistance to antimicrobial medicines is a concerning sign.

Malaria: Malaria is a hematologic disease caused by parasite protozoa belonging to the Plasmodium genus. Malaria kills about one million Africans each year, the majority of whom are children under the age of five. This disease is predicted to be responsible for about 1.3% of the annual decline in economic growth in nations with the highest disease burden.

Diarrhea: Diarrhea is still one of the most prevalent diseases in children under the age of five, and it is one of the primary causes of juvenile death. Although the multidrug-resistant bacterium Shigella dysenteriae that causes dysentery has caused catastrophic epidemics in a number of countries (including Bangladesh, Somalia, Rwanda, Zaire, and Nepal), rotavirus remains the most common cause of severe diarrheal sickness.

Leishmaniasis: Leishmaniasis is a series of parasitic disorders caused by Leishmania parasites that are found in 88 countries and inflict significant morbidity and mortality. The disease is conveyed by the bite of Phlebotominae sand flies, and it can affect the skin and internal organs (cutaneous leishmaniasis) (visceral leishmaniasis).

Strongyloidiasis: Strongyloidiasis is a prevalent cause of sickness in tropical and subtropical climates, where the parasite thrives in the warm climate. The infection can be characterised as acute, chronic, or severe depending on the state of the host's immune system and the clinical presentation. Autoinfection with the Strongyloides parasite can occur uncontrollably in immunocompromised patients, resulting in hyperinfection syndrome.

African Trypanosomiasis: The parasitic disease African trypanosomiasis, sometimes known as African sleeping sickness, is spread by the tsetse fly. It is caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma brucei, and it has resurfaced as a new epidemic of massive proportions since the 1970s.

Onchocerciasis: Onchocerciasis, often known as river blindness, is a parasitic ailment caused by Onchocerca volvulus, a filarial nematode. The larvae of this worm can travel beneath the skin and into the eye, causing vision impairment and blindness. In Africa, 99% of the population is in danger of contracting this infectious disease.

Some Neglected Tropical Diseases Include: 


Causative Agent


Ancylostoma duodenale and Necator americanus


Trichuris trichiura


Treponema pallidum pertenue, Treponema pallidum endemicum, Treponema pallidum carateum, Treponema pallidum pallidum

Buruli ulcer

Mycobacterium ulcerans

Human African trypanosomiasis

Trypanosoma brucei, Trypanosoma gambiense


Dracunculus medinensis




Strongyloides stercoralis

Foodborne trematodiases



Taenia solium


Sarcoptes scabiei

Flavivirus Infections

Yellow fever virus, West Nile virus, dengue virus, Tick-borne encephalitis virus

Tropical Diseases and Climate

Travellers, explorers, and medics have long been aware of the so-called "exotic" diseases that exist in the tropics. The establishment of breeding grounds, the quantity and variety of natural reservoirs and animal diseases that can be transmitted to people (zoonosis), and the highest number of possible insect vectors of illnesses are all directly affected by the hot environment that exists throughout the year and the bigger volume of rainfall. It's also likely that warmer temperatures encourage harmful pathogens to replicate both within and outside biological beings. Since most of the world's poorest countries are in Africa, socio-economic variables may possibly be at play.

Climate change, driven by the greenhouse effect, is driving tropical diseases and vectors to spread to higher altitudes in mountainous regions, as well as to higher latitudes that were previously unaffected, such as the Southern United States, the Mediterranean region, and so on. For example, in Costa Rica's Monteverde cloud forest, global warming allowed Chytridiomycosis, a tropical disease, to thrive, causing amphibian populations of the Monteverde Harlequin frog to plummet. Global warming increased the heights of orographic cloud formation, resulting in cloud cover that aided optimal growth conditions.

Tropical Diseases Treatment and Prevention

The distribution of medicines improved living circumstances, and the construction of waste sanitation facilities can all help to manage tropical diseases. Furthermore, well-designed programmes that provide nutritional support to those living in high-risk locations can help to increase a human's resilience to these diseases.

Additionally, community-wide immunisation campaigns can help, and certain vaccines for neglected tropical illnesses are on their way to clinical trials. Improved collaboration, particularly between the public sector and vaccine makers in poorer countries, could further encourage information exchange and cost reductions.

Water and sanitation deficiencies clearly contribute to the severe disease burden imposed by infectious diarrhoea, hepatitis, intestinal nematodes such as hookworm, and leishmaniasis, thus they should be addressed as well. Furthermore, certain substances such as arsenic and fluorine can pollute drinking water.

Repellents should be given more attention as a critical public health strategy in tropical areas where vectors bite late at night or when epidemics occur. Synthetic repellents based on N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET) are a common technique of mosquito protection that can help to lessen the malaria burden.

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FAQs on Tropical Diseases

1. What are Some Common Symptoms of Tropical Diseases?

Ans) Fever, pains, rash, sores, or swelling of the lymph nodes or infection site are some of the first signs to appear. Some NTDs, such as sleeping sickness, leprosy, and guinea-worm disease, can go years without causing symptoms. Most NTDs are not lethal if they are treated.

2. Which Region has the Highest Number of Infectious Tropical Diseases?

Ans) Asia currently has the highest number of NTDs, followed by the huge emerging market economies of India, Indonesia, and China.

3. What are the Different Types of Diseases?

Ans) Infectious diseases, deficiency diseases, hereditary illnesses (including genetic and non-genetic hereditary disorders), and physiological diseases are the four basic categories of disease.

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