Plague is a highly contagious disease, sometimes called the “black death” because of the several epidemics it caused in Europe in those days
There are three basic forms of plague.
Bubonic Plague: The most common form of plague is bubonic plague. It is usually contracted when an infected rodent or flea bites you. In very rare cases, you can get the bacteria from material that has come into contact with an infected person. Bubonic plague infects your lymphatic system (immune system), causing inflammation. Untreated, it can move into the blood and cause septicemic plague, or to the lungs, causing pneumonic plague.
Pneumonic Plague: When the bacteria multiply in the lungs, you have pneumonic plague—the most serious form of the disease. When a person with pneumonic plague coughs, the bacteria from their lungs are expelled into the air. Other people who breathe that air can also develop this highly contagious form of plague, which can lead to an epidemic.
Both bubonic and pneumonic plague are associated with crowde living conditions.
Measles is a highly infectious (spreads easily) disease characterized by fever, catarrh, cough and rash all over the body. It is all over the world but more severe in poor countries. Death can occur due its several possible complications ranging from chest infections to infections of the brain. The diseases tends to affect many people at the same time
Tuberculosis is caused by a germ called mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is found all over the world and has survived so because it has the ability to develop resistance to drugs if treatment is not strictly followed by those who have the disease. The disease is curable.
TB spreads from person to person through spit of an infected person that has dried up. When dried up, it with the germs it contains can be blown by wind and any one can breathe it in. Very rarely it can spread by direct contact with the saliva or cough of a person with the disease. Thus it can spread through kissing.
Chicken pox is caused by a virus and spreads very easily from person to person. If it attacks one person in a class or household, several others persons in the class or household are likely to have it. It has a characteristic rash that is more on the trunk (body) than on the face, feet and hands. It starts with fever, and general feeling of unwell. The rash is the give-away sign. The soles and palms are spared of the rash which dries up after sometime.
Asthma is a non-communicable lifelong condition characterized by occasional narrowing and swelling of the airways through which air enters and leaves our lungs.
The cause of asthma is not quite clear but heredity is thought to play a major role in who gets the disease. If your parent or sibling has it then your risk of having it is high.
Other risk factors include crowded living conditions which encourage persistent exposure to airborne allergens (things that the body can react to such as pollen, mold, cockroaches, dust), persistent exposure to cooking smoke when using wood or charcoal; overweight, cigarette smoking, persistent occupational exposure to some chemicals ( those working in places where certain chemicals are used or manufactured such as paint companies, hairdressing saloons are at risk),
Meningitis is a highly contagious disease which spreads from person to person. It is a disease of the cover of the brain and spinal cord. It is found all over the world but more common in crowded communities with poor ventilation. In Nigeria, it is more common in the northern part which lies within the “Meningitis Belt”. People in all ages can have the disease but those under 30 years are more at risk.
Meningitis is caused by several agents on individual basis. It could be due to bacteria, virus, fungi, parasites or even injuries or cancer.
The way meningitis spreads from person to person depends on the agent that caused the disease. If caused` by bacteria, it will spread through coughing, sneezing if close to the sick person or discharges can be blown as droplets later to other persons. It can also spread through kissing, sharing lip sticks/lip savers, tooth brushes etc. If caused by a virus, it spreads by faecal (Stool) contamination of hands resulting from failure to wash hands thoroughly after using the toilet or changing baby diapers. There are other means of spread but these two are the most important.
In the dirty and over-crowded areas of the cities and in many parts of the rural areas of Africa, the sight of children with “Craw-Craw” rashes is still quite common. The process of scratching by the infested person transfers the mites to other parts of the body.
The period between the time of infestation and the appearance of rashes or the onset of itching is called the incubation period. This may be between two or six weeks in persons without previous exposure or one to four days in cases of re-infestation
Scabies responds very well to appropriate treatment which is the application of an emulsion called benzyl benzoate. This must be applied all over the body from the neck to the sole of the feet after a bath. It is usually necessary to apply the emulsion a second time about seven to ten days after the first application. All close contacts must also be treated and where itching is persistent, drugs like piriton or other anti-histamine may be used to control it. After treatment, a cleansing bath is taken and a change made to fresh clothing and bed clothes. However, treatment is not complete without taking proper care of the clothing and bed linens of the infested person. All these have to be thoroughly washed and sun-dried to kill off the mites therein.
Scabies is an itchy skin disease appearing as little blisters or/and sores in certain parts of the body. It affects all ages but mostly children.
It is found in between the fingers, inner surface of the wrist, the waistline, navel, the genitals (penis in men and labia in women) and the sides of the breast in women.
The severe itching of scabies due to allergy to the mites which cause it, gives it away.
Mumps is very infectious disease caused by the mumps virus. It affects those things in our body which produce saliva called salivary glands—parotid, sub-maxillary and sublingual salivary glands; the parotid is the one affected in most cases. The disease occurs all over the world, both developed and developing countries and can be in form of outbreaks as it is highly infectious.
However the incidence is higher in crowded homes with poor ventilation and schools
Children under five years are mostly affected but teenagers and young youths can also be affected. It is worse in adults.