Common Diseases : An Eye Opener


Common Diseases

1. Malaria : An insect-borne tropical disease.

Cause: Malaria parasite (Plasmodium) which enters the blood through a mosquito bite (female anopheles).

Symptoms : Shivering, fever, repeated attacks lead to enlargement of spleen. Also leads to anaemia, pigmentation of the face, and general weakness.

Cure/Prevention : Administration of quinine or plaudrine. Prevented by keeping the surroundings free of mosquitoes.

2. Tuberculosis: An infectious and endemic disease, both air-borne and caused by food, unhealthy living and working conditions.

Cause : Micro bacterium tuberculosis

(detected by Robert Koch in the mid 19th century), a type of bacteria. It attacks a person suffering from malnutrition, weak chest, unhealthy living and working conditions.

Symptoms: General weakness, regular fever (generally in the evening and not very high), coughing, bloodstained sputum.

Cure/Prevention: Streptomycin and surgery.

Prevented by BCG inoculation and healthy living and working atmosphere.

BCG The vaccine was developed in 1922 by Leon Calmette and Camille Guerrin in Paris and called BCG after them. (Bacillus Calmette-Guerin).

3. Cholera: An acute epidemic, water and  food-borne disease. Cause Cholera vibrio or Vibriocholerae which attacks during exposure to chill, when stomach is empty for a long duration, eating of unripe or overripe fruits, and stale food.

Symptoms: Vomiting, stomach ache, frequent loose stools followed by fever and unconsciousness.

Cure/Prevention :Avoiding consumption of cut fruits exposed to flies, and contaminated water. Anticholera drugs are administered.

4. Tetanus :Cause : Bacillus tetanus and Clostridium tetani which live in soil, dust, cow and horse dung. It attacks an open wound exposed to dust and soil.

Symptoms Painful contraction of muscles, usually of neck and jaws, followed by paralysis of thoracic muscles.

Cure/Prevention Preventing exposure of wounds to dust and administering of Anti-Tetanus (ATS) injection.

5. Diphtheria: An acute infectious disease of the throat.

Cause Acute infection by diphtheria bacillus/corynebacterium diphtheria causing infection of throat.

Symptoms Inflammation of throat where a grey membrane (a false membrane on mucous surface) is formed. Pain and swelling of throat, with fever.

Cure/Prevention Immunisation vaccine of diphtheria antitoxin within 12-24 hours of appearance of symptoms.

6. Typhoid: A food- and water-borne infectious disease.

Cause Salmonella typhi bacillus transmitted through contaminated food and water, either directly by sewage or indirectly by hands and faulty hygiene.

Symptoms Temperature, slow pulse, abdominal tenderness, rosecoloured rash.

Cure/Prevention Rest and administration of chloromycetin, proper sanitation, protection of eatables.

7. Plague: A contagious disease which takes the form of an epidemic.

Cause Pasteurella pestis, spread by infected rats. Transfer of infection from rat to man through flea bite or accidental contact with infected rats.

Symptoms Acute body ache, reddish eyes, sudden rise in temperatue, inflammation of neck glands and glands in armpits, and


Cure/Prevention Antiplague inoculation, isolation of patient, disinfection of patient’s clothes and utensils, burning of killed rats. Sulpha drugs and streptomycin administration.

8. Typhus : A viral infection Cause Rickettsia prowazekii, usually caused by poor hygiene and malnutrition.

Symptoms : High fever, skin eruptions, and

severe headache.

Cure/prevention: Sulphonamides and antibiotics.

9. Pneumonia Cause : Diplococus pneumonia

Symptoms : Chills, pain in chest, rusty sputum, rapid breathing, abdominal pain.

Cure/Prevention : Antibiotics

10. Gonorrhoea: A venereal disease Cause Neisseria gonorrhea, through sexual intercourse with infected person.

Symptoms Redness, swelling, pus discharge through urethra, painful urination.

Cure Penicillin G, tetracycline.

11. Syphilis: Cause Treponema pallidum transmitted through sexual contact.

Symptoms : A hard painless sore on the genitalia, skin eruption.

Cure/Prevention:  Penicillin, protected sexual intercourse.

12. Whooping: Chiefly occurs among infants Cough and children.

Cause : Nemophilus pertusis transmitted through air.

Symptoms :Severe cough, usually at night.

Cure/Prevention : Immunisation of infants with immunity serum

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