Curiosities

What diseases can you get during a trip to the jungle?

Do you know what diseases you can get during a trip to the jungle? Take precautions so that your next vacation is not tarnished by health problems and enjoy this journey to the fullest.

What are tropical diseases?

Tropical diseases are all those that can be acquired in the tropics and correspond to infections that proliferate easily in the environmental conditions of this type of region, where heat and humidity are abundant.

In this sense, you can acquire tropical diseases during a trip to the jungle and its main reasons for spreading are related to environmental and biological factors such as the wide biodiversity of pathogens, vectors (animals that serve as a vehicle to transmit infections) and hosts.

However, there are some social factors that also influence the spread of tropical diseases, given that efforts to control this type of infection have been insufficient. An example of this is malaria, leishmaniasis, schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis and African trypanosomiasis.

What are the tropical diseases and infections that are most commonly acquired in the jungle?

If you want to know what kind of infections you would be prone to during your next trip to the jungle, take a look at the most common tropical diseases in tourists from these regions.

Tuberculosis

It is considered the leading cause of death in terms of infections worldwide, it occurs mainly in developing countries and spreads through people who travel from those nations to other parts of the world.

This is a chronic bacterial disease that is caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis, hence its name. It develops slowly and remains in the body for the long term.

The most prominent symptom is frequent coughing, which usually appears after the third week of infection or more and is accompanied by blood and chest pain.

Malaria

This is an infectious and hematological disease that is generated by a plasmodium and is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito, putting the life of the host at risk and making it possible to spread it to other people.

The symptoms of malaria are chills, sweating, high temperature fever, headache, vomiting and nausea.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea as a tropical disease is caused by rotavirus and usually affects mainly young children. This virus is present in Bangladesh, Somalia, Rwanda and Nepal.

The most serious epidemics of diarrhea can trigger dysentery in the presence of the bacterium shigella gysenteriae, whose symptoms also include fever, vomiting and pain in the abdomen.

Leishmaniasis

This disease is caused by leishmania parasites, which are spread through the bite of insects such as sand flies and can occur in three variants:

  • Visceral leishmaniasis, most people die from this disease if it is not treated in time.
  • Cutaneous leishmaniasis, generates skin lesions and ulcers in the most exposed areas, which can leave permanent scars and disability.
  • Mucocutaneous leishmaniasis, causes partial or total destruction of the mucous membranes present in the nose, mouth and throat.

These three variants of the tropical disease known as leishmaniosis usually occur in countries such as Brazil, East Africa, Southeast Asia, Bolivia, Ethiopia and Peru.

How are these diseases diagnosed?

Blood, urine, throat, and stool tests are done to determine if a person has been infected with any of these diseases. Sometimes a lumbar puncture is required to obtain cerebrospinal fluid, biopsies or imaging studies such as X-rays, MRIs and CT scans to make the diagnosis.

How are tropical diseases treated?

Being infections caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi, the treatment depends directly on its origin and can be any of the following methods:

  • Antibiotics.
  • Antivirals.
  • Antifungals.
  • Antiparasitic.

Generally, these are prolonged treatments and frequent controls to ensure their effectiveness against the infection. Therefore, at the first symptom it is essential to go to a doctor to opt for a better prognosis against these diseases.

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