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5 Communicable Disease In India To Look Out For

Published On Apr 27, 2022 11:00 AM By InsuranceDekho

Worldwide, the lack of clean water for drinking, cooking and washing, and the lack of Sanitary waste disposal is to blame for over 12 million deaths a year, say researchers. About 1.2 billion people are at risk because they lack access to safe fresh water. India too has its share of infectious epidemics; and though mortality owing to these is decreasing, it is a significant part of the disease burden our society carries.

The disease burden is high in India, for obvious reasons like poor sanitation, lack of access to 
fresh water, poor hygiene, etc., which are common in the most developing countries. Though exact dependable statistics are not available, a good percentage of cases go unreported. Secondly, ‘infection is not recognized till it becomes symptomatic.

Communicable Diseases in India

The most common diseases are as follows:

1. Malaria

Malaria is a very common disease in developing countries. The word malaria is derived from the word ‘mal-aria meaning bad air. Ronald Ross first discovered the transmission of malaria by mosquitoes, while he was working in India (Secunderabad, AP) in 1897. Malaria is one of the most widespread diseases in the world. Each year, there are 300 to 500 million clinical cases of malaria, 90 percent of them in Africa alone. Among all infectious diseases, malaria continues to be one of the biggest contributors to disease burden in terms of deaths and suffering. Malaria kills more than one million 
children a year in the developing world, accounting for about half of malaria deaths globally.

The risk of getting malaria extends to almost the entire population in India (almost 95 percent). The following states that have the highest number of malaria cases are Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Assam, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.

2. Typhoid

Typhoid fever is an acute, systemic infection presenting as fever with abdominal symptoms, caused by Salmonella typhi and paratyphi. Before nineteenth century, typhus and typhoid Fever was considered to be the same. Enteric fever is an alternative name for typhoid. Salmonella typhi and paratyphi colonise only humans. The organisms are acquired via ingestion of food or water, contaminated with human excreta from infected persons. Direct person-to-person transmission is rare. Typhoid is a global health problem. It is seen in children older than the age of one.

Outbreaks of typhoid in developing countries result in high mortality. The recent development of antibiotic resistant organisms is causing much concern. Typhoid fever is more common in the tropics. It tends to occur in places, where the sanitation standards are poor. A bacterial organism called salmonella typhi causes typhoid fever. Salmonella paratyphi can also cause fever and abdominal symptoms. The disease caused by both these entities is called enteric fever. The disease presents with a typical, continuous fever for about three to four weeks, relative bradycardia with abdominal pain (due to enlargement of lymph nodes in the abdomen), and constipation. Geographical Distribution Worldwide, typhoid fever affects about six million people with more than 6, 00,000 deaths a year. Almost 80 percent of cases and deaths occur in Asia, and most others in Africa and Latin America. Among Asian countries, India probably has a large number of these cases.

3. Diarrhoeal Diseases

The term gastroenteritis is most frequently used to describe acute diarrhoea. Diarrhoea is defined as the passage of loose, liquid or watery stools. These liquid stools are usually passed more than three times a day. The attack usually lasts for about 3 to 7 days, but may also last up to 10 to 14 days.Diarrhoea is a major public health problem in developing countries. Diarrhoeal diseases cause a heavy economic burden on health services. About 15 percent of all pediatric beds in India are occupied by admissions due to gastroenteritis. In India, diarrhoeal diseases are a major public health problem among children under the age of 5 years. In health institutions, up to a third of total pediatric admissions are due to diarrhoeal diseases. Diarrhoea related diseases are a significant cause of mortality in children less than five years of age. Incidence is highest in the age group of 6 to 11 months. The National Diarrhoeal Disease Control Programme has made a significant contribution in averting deaths among children less than five years of age.

4. Amoebiasis

Amoebiasis is an infection caused by a parasite ‘Entamoeba Histolytica'. The intestinal disease varies from mild abdominal discomfort and diarrhoea to acute fulminating dysentery. Extra intestinal amoebiasis includes involvement of the liver (liver abseess), lungs, brain, spleen, skin, etc. Amoebiasis is a common infection of the human gastrointestinal tract. It has a worldwide distribution. It is a major health problem in the whole of China south-east and west Asia and Latin America, especially Mexico. It is generally agreed that amoebiasis affects about 15 
percent of the Indian population. Amoebiasis has been reported throughout India.

5. Cholera

Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease caused by V. Cholera (classical or El T). It is now commonly due to the El T or biotype. The majority of infections are mild or symptomatic. Epidemics of cholera are characteristically abrupt and often create an acute public health problem. They have a high potential to spread fast and cause deaths. The epidemic reaches a peak and subsides gradually as the ‘force of infection declines. Often, when time control measures are instituted, the epidemic has already reached its peak and is waning.


Approximately 60% of all deaths in the age group of 6 to 14 are due to infectious diseases and nearly half of these deaths are due to diarrheal diseases and pneumonia. Mortality in this age group from infectious diseases, and diarrhea in particular, is much higher than previously estimated.

Also read- Health Insurance Covers A Variety Of Illnesses.

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This article is issued in the general public interest and meant for general information purposes only. Readers are advised not to rely on the contents of the article as conclusive in nature and should research further or consult an expert in this regard.

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