American Trypanosomiasis

The American trypanosomiasis is also known as Chagas disease. It is the human tropical parasitic disease that occurs mainly in South America. The flagellate protozoan named Trypanosoma cruzi is the cause of the transmission to humans from other mammals mostly by the blood-sucking assassin bugs.

These assassin bugs are known by other names such as the kissing bug, chipo, chupanca, benchuca, barbeiro and vinchuca. There are other ways to get the disease including by ingestion of contaminated food, blood transfusion and fetal-maternal transmission.

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What is Yellow Fever

If you plan to travel to South America or Africa, you could possibly run into one of the most prevalent tropical diseases there – yellow fever. It is a hemorrhagic disease caused by a virus transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito which thrives primarily in the tropical regions of South America and the sub-Sahara areas in Africa.

Many travelers to these regions exposed to yellow fever get mild cases which result in vomiting, fever, nausea and headaches. More serious cases develop problems with the kidneys, liver and heart and even excessive bleeding also known as hemorrhaging.

There is typically a mortality rate of up to 50% for those with a brutal case of yellow fever. No particular treatment exists but there is a vaccine that could help you avoid the disease or at least lessen the severity of the symptoms should you do get it.

Main Causes

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What is Oropouche Fever

Oropouche fever is a tropical disease that typically manifests itself in epidemics rather than single cases here and there. It is a febrile illness with no particular telling characteristics other than it is often compared to mild cases of dengue fever. Oropouche fever is named after the Oropouche River found in Trinidad and Tobago. There is also a nickname for this tropical illness, febre de Mojui, named after a village called Mojui in Northern Brazil where the illness presented itself during a clearing of rainforested areas there.

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Onchoceriasis River Blindness Disease

Water is one of the most common incubators when it comes to little beasties that cause tropical diseases. Onchoceriasis, also known as river blindness, is one of those diseases which originate from the water. It is a parasitic disease caused by a worm which lives in the water and is the one of the top causes of blindness from infection.

The worm which causes river blindness is the Onchocerca volvulus and is quite thin and cannot really be seen by the naked eye. The disease is transmitted from person to person from the bite of a blackfly. The larvae passed onto an unsuspecting victim turns into adult worms which can live for up to 15 years in the body!

How River Blindness Happens

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What is Chikungunya Fever

Mosquitoes are at the heart of many tropical diseases and that includes the Chikungunya Fever. It is a viral infection spread by biting mosquitoes infected with a virus. The symptoms from this illness resemble those of dengue fever and can include arthritic pain in the joints, rashes and fever. While it is not usually life-threatening, it can be serious and keep you down and out for a while.

While the symptoms of Chikungunya fever have been traced back to the 19th century in India and other Asian countries, it wasn’t until the mid 1950’s that the virus causing the fever was pinpointed and the mosquito transmission validated. Typically, this fever, often nicknamed Chik fever, occurs in epidemics with a number of years between each outbreak.

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Rift Valley Fever

There are a few tropical diseases that affect both animals and humans. Rift Valley fever or RVF is a viral disease that is spread mainly through mosquito bites and because these pests take their blood meal wherever they can get it, both domesticated animals and humans can contract the disease from them.

Rift Valley fever is a phlebovirus and identified in the early 20th century, first in livestock in Africa. Typically, you will find this disease in southern and eastern Africa as well as Madagascar, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern areas. Epidemics of the disease typically occur when the environment or relationship between animals and humans are disrupted.

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What is Melioidosis

Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and more have high concentrations of this disease as do countries in the South Pacific, Middle East and Africa. The disease Melioidosis aka Whitmore’s disease is a bacterial illness caused by the bacteria burkholderia pseudomallei. It is endemic in these areas and the bacteria that cause Melioidosis are found in both soil and water, two things that people are easily exposed to every day there.

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