INFECTIOUS THREATS: What Can Get You?
- Malaria: is a parasitic disease that involves high fevers, shaking chills, flu-like symptoms, and anemia. It is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. Symptoms of malaria include fever, shivering, arthralgia (joint pain), vomiting, anemia (caused by hemolysis), hemoglobinuria, retinal damaging, and convulsion.
- Amebiasis: infection caused by the amoeba Endameba histolytic. Amebiasis is usually transmitted by the fecal-oral route, but it can also be transmitted indirectly through contact with dirty hands. It is commonly spread by water contaminated by feces or from food served by contaminated hands. Even vegetables grown in soil contaminated by feces can transmit the disease.
- Hepatitis A: found mostly in the stools and blood of an infected person about 15 - 45 days before symptoms occur and during the first week of illness.You can catch hepatitis A if: You eat or drink food or water that has been contaminated by stools (feces) containing the hepatitis A virus ( vegetables, ice, and water are common sources of the hepatitis A virus), you come in contact with the stool or blood of a person who currently has the disease, or a person with hepatitis A does not wash his or her hands properly after going to the bathroom and touches other objects or food. About 3,600 cases of hepatitis A are reported each year.
- Hepatitis B: an infection that can be spread through having contact with the blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and other body fluids of someone who already has a hepatitis B infection. Infection can be spread through: Direct contact with blood in health care settings, Tattoo or acupuncture with unclean needles or instruments, Shared needles during drug use, or Shared personal items with an infected person. When the body's immune system detects the infection, it sends out special cells to fight it off. However, these disease-fighting cells can lead to liver inflammation.
- Traveler's Diarrhea: most common illness affecting travelers. An estimated 10 million people—20% to 50% of international travelers—develop it annually. Infectious agents are the primary cause of travelers' diarrhea. Bacterial enteropathogens cause approximately 80% of cases. Viruses and protozoans account for most of the rest. Typically, a traveler experiences four to five loose or watery bowel movements each day. Other commonly associated symptoms are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, bloating, low fever, urgency, and malaise, and appetite is usually low or nonexistent.
- Yellow Fever: caused by a small virus that is spread by the bite of mosquitoes. This disease is common in South America and in sub-Saharan Africa. Anyone can get yellow fever, but the elderly have a higher risk of severe infection. If a person is bitten by an infected mosquito, symptoms usually develop 3 - 6 days later. Yellow fever has three stages:
- Early stage: Headache, muscle and joint aches, fever, flushing, loss of appetite, vomiting, and jaundice are common. After approximately 3 - 4 days, often symptoms go away briefly (remission).
- Period of remission: After 3 - 4 days, fever and other symptoms go away. Most people will recover at this stage, but others may move onto the third, most dangerous stage (intoxication stage) within 24 hours.
- Period of intoxication: Multi-organ dysfunction occurs. This may include heart, liver, and kidney failure, bleeding disorders, hemorrhage, and brain dysfunction including delirium, seizures, coma, shock, and death.
- Dengue's Fever: caused by one of four different but related viruses. It is spread by the bite of mosquitoes, most commonly the mosquito Aedes aegypti, which is found in tropic and subtropical regions. This includes parts of: Indonesian archipelago into northeastern Australia, South and Central America, Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and some parts of the Caribbean. Dengue fever begins with a sudden high fever, often as high as 104 - 105 degrees Fahrenheit, 4 to 7 days after the infection. A flat, red rash may appear over most of the body 2 - 5 days after the fever starts. A second rash, which looks like the measles, appears later in the disease. Infected people may have increased skin sensitivity and are very uncomfortable. Other symptoms include: Fatigue, headache, joint aches, muscle aches, nausea, swollen lymph nodes, and vomiting.
- Typhoid: The bacterium that causes typhoid is spread through contaminated food, drink, or water. They travel into your intestines and then into your bloodstream where they can get to your lymph nodes, gallbladder, liver, spleen, and other parts of your body.
- Chikungunya: is transmitted to humans by virus-carrying Aedes mosquitoes. The incubation period of Chikungunya disease is from two to five days. Other nonspecific symptoms can include headache, conjunctivitis, and slight photophobia. Typically, the fever lasts for two days and then ends abruptly. However, other symptoms—namely joint pain, intense headache, insomnia and an extreme degree of prostration—last for a variable period; usually for about 5 to 7 days.
- Tick-Borne Disease: are diseases transmitted by ticks. As the incidence of tick-borne illnesses increases and the geographic areas in which they are found expand, it becomes increasingly important that health professionals be able to distinguish the diverse, and often overlapping, clinical presentations of these diseases. Ticks tend to be more active during warmer months, though this varies by geographic region and climate. Areas with woods, bushes, high grass, or leaf litter are likely to have more ticks. Those bitten commonly experience symptoms such as body aches, fever, fatigue, joint pain, or rashes. People can limit their exposure to tick bites by wearing light-colored clothing (including pants and long sleeves), using insect repellent, tucking their pant legs into their socks, checking for ticks frequently, and washing and drying their clothing.
- Norovirus: group of related, single-stranded RNA, non-enveloped viruses that cause acute gastroenteritis in humans. The most common symptoms of acute gastroenteritis are diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Norovirus spread from person to person, through contaminated food or water, and by touching contaminated surfaces. Norovirus is recognized as the leading cause of foodbourne-disease outbreaks in the United States. Outbreaks can happen to people of all ages and in a variety of settings.
- Worms: are a division of eukaryotic parasites that, unlike external parasites such as lice and fleas, live inside their host. They are worm-like organisms that live and feed off living hosts, receiving nourishment and protection while disrupting their hosts' nutrient absorption, causing weakness and disease. Those that live inside the digestive tract are called intestinal parasites. They can live inside humans as well as other animals.
Fishing: Exotic places and third-world countries are a great place to find that catch of a lifetime. Costa Rica, Mexico, Africa, and many other places around the globe offer exciting fishing opportunities and a chance to experience diverse cultures. Catching a peacock bass on the Amazon River, is an experience of a lifetime. Catching malaria while you’re there, is not! In fact, there are many microorganisms awaiting the ill-prepared fisherman in the jungles of South America. Whether you’re eating lunch after a long day of marlin fishing in the Caribbean or touring the streets of some town in Madagascar, you need knowledge, prescriptions, vaccinations, and other forms of protection on your side.