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What it is: An acute intestinal infection causing moderate to severe watery diarrhea, dehydration and death if untreated promptly.
How you get it: Caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated by feces from infected person. Symptoms may start within few hours to 5 days after exposure.
Why is it serious: Uncommon in developed countries. Frequent outbreaks are reported in many developing countries of Africa, South Asia and Latin America.
What it is: An infectious disease caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheria that infects the throat and upper airways, and produces a toxin affecting other organs.
How you get it: Contracted through inhalation of infected droplets or contact with infected secretions or sores. Symptoms start 2 – 5 days after infection.
Why is it serious: In severe cases, it may cause life-threatening obstruction to breathing passage with toxin release damaging several organs of body.
What it is: A viral infectious that attacks the liver to cause acute or chronic liver disease. It is 50 – 100 times more infectious than HIV.
How you get it: Contracted through exposure to infectious blood or body fluids containing blood. Often symptomless. When they occur, symptoms may start 30 – 180 days after an exposure.
Why is it serious: When not self-limiting, it can lead to acute or chronic liver disease and or liver cancer.
What it is: Caused by bacteria responsible for severe pneumonia, meningitis, blood and other invasive diseases almost exclusively in children below 5 years old.
How you get it: Contracted through exposure to infectious mucus or droplets from the nose or throat of an infected person. Symptoms may start within one week after infection.
Why is it serious: In presence of risk factors, it remains a major cause of lower respiratory tract and brain infections or death in infants and children in the tropics.
What it is: A highly contagious disease caused by a virus that grows in the nose and throat of an infected child or adult.
How you get it: Contracted through inhalation of infected droplets or contact with infected mucus. Symptoms starts within 7 – 14 days after exposure to virus.
Why is it serious: Although death rate from the diseases is falling, it still kills approximately 100,000 children under age 5 years worldwide.
What it is: A leading cause of bacterial infection of coverings of brain and spinal cord and of blood. It is caused by Neisseria meningitides bacterium.
How you get it: Through inhalation of infected droplets or contact with infected mucus. Facilitated by close contact and during mass gathering. Symptoms start on average of 4 days after infection.
Why is it serious: Frequent outbreaks occur in “meningitis belt” of sub-Sahara Africa with yearly reported cases of 30,000. 15% or more of infected persons die.
What it is: An infection of a salivary gland caused by a virus.
How you get it: Contracted through human-to-human-transmission via direct contact with infected saliva or nasal droplets. Symptoms start 16 – 18 days after exposure.
Why is it serious: Although associated with health issues including fever, headache, muscle aches, pain in salivary glands and reproductive organs, it rarely causes sterility. Hearing loss and Infection of brain and its coverings may occur but are very rare.
What it is: Highly contagious disease of the respiratory tract caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. Organism resides in mouth, throat and nose. Known for causing uncontrollable violent cough that makes breathing difficult (whooping cough).
How you get it: Contracted through inhalation of infected droplets from an infected person. Symptoms start 3 – 12 days after exposure and may last 6 weeks.
Why is it serious: Is life-threatening especially in infants. Respiratory distress, seizures and heart problems are common complications.
What it is: A highly infective disease caused by a virus of the Picornaviridae family.
How you get it: Contracted through human-to-human oral transmission of contaminated secretions or fecal materials. Non-paralytic and paralytic polio symptoms may start 3 – 6 days and 7 – 21 days of exposure to infection respectively.
Why is it serious: In its most severe form, it is associated with varying degrees of irreversible muscle paralysis and death if breathing muscles affected.
What it is: A non-contagious disease caused by the spores of the bacterium Clostridia tetani present in soil worldwide and in animal intestinal tract.
How you get it: In adults, spores enter body through puncture wound or breach in skin. In newborn, through contamination of umbilical cord. Symptoms may start within 7 – 30 days of exposure to infection.
Why is it serious: Bacterium produces potent toxin that causes severe illness including fever, lockjaw, neck and generalized muscle stiffness and spasms (tetanus).
What it is: An infectious disease that commonly affects the lungs and is caused by the bacterium Mycobacteria tuberculosis.
How you get it: Transmitted from person-to-person through inhalation of infected droplets released into air by infected persons through coughing, sneezing, or spitting.
Why is it serious: Current epidemiological evidence suggests that one-third of the world’s population is infected with tuberculosis with 8.8 million new cases and 2 million deaths per year.
What it is: A vector borne viral disease of humans and other primates.
How you get it: Transmitted from person-to-person by the Aedes agypti mosquito When present, symptoms commonly starts 3 – 6 days after infection.
Why is it serious: Endemic in over 43 countries in the tropics and South America. 30 – 60% of those who develop severe disease, die.