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List of diseases M-Y



Malaria is an infectious disease caused by a parasite: it is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. People catch malaria when the parasite enters the blood. The parasite causes a deadly infection which kills many people each year.


  • Arthralgia (pain in joints)
  • Headache (pain in head)
  • Feeling very tired or sleepy
  • Cough
  • Chills (feeling very cold)
  • Delirium (when people are very confused because of a disease. They may look drunk. They may not be able to talk.)
  • Coma (when people are not conscious. They look like they are asleep, but they cannot be woken. )


Malaria happens when a bite from the female Anopheles mosquito infects the body with Plasmodium. Only the Anopheles mosquito can transmit malaria. The successful development of the parasite within the mosquito depends on several factors, the most important being humidity and ambient temperatures. When an infected mosquito bites a human host, the parasite enters the bloodstream and lays dormant within the liver.


Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.

Use an appropriate insect repellent as directed.

Always follow product directions and reapply as directed:

If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.

Follow package directions when applying repellent on children. Avoid applying repellent to their hands, eyes, and mouth.

Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself:

Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. See the product information to find out how long the protection will last.

If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully.

Do not use permethrin directly on skin.

Stay and sleep in screened or air conditioned rooms.

Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.



Measles is an infectious disease, caused by a virus. People catch measles from other people. It is passed on in tiny drops of water when people breathe. People with measles have a sore throat, a fever, a cough, red eyes and a runny nose. They also have a bumpy red rash all over their body. These rashes will cause a high irritation of itching.


For 1 or 2 weeks after an infection, the virus multiplies without causing any symptoms. This is called the incubation period. After that, symptoms such as cough, fever, runny nose, red eyes, and tearing will appear. Children may also become irritable.


Measles is spread through droplet transmission from the nose, throat, and mouth of someone who is infected with the virus. These droplets are sprayed out when the infected person coughs or sneezes. Among unimmunized people exposed to the virus, over 90% will contract the disease.


Isolation. Because measles is highly contagious from about four days before to four days after the rash breaks out, people with measles shouldn't return to activities in which they interact with other people during this period.

Vaccinate. Be sure that anyone who's at risk of getting the measles who hasn't been fully vaccinated receives the measles vaccine as soon as possible. This includes anyone born after 1957 who hasn't been vaccinated, as well as infants older than 6 months.

You can also use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to clean your hands during the day. Keep hand sanitizer in your desk or your bag and pull it out whenever you touch a potentially dirty surface in public.

Try not to touch your mouth, eyes, or nose with dirty hands. Wash your hands before touching any of these spots.

To prevent the spread of germs, including germs with the measles virus, always cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Do not use your hands to cover your mouth. If you do not have access to a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve.



A migraine is a medical condition which usually causes a pounding, throbbing headache on one side of the head. The pain may be very bad and hurt so much that a person may have a hard time doing anything. While most people who have migraines get a headache, not everyone does. There are different kinds of migraines and some do not cause a headache but do have other symptoms.


  • Moderate to severe pain, usually confined to one side of the head, but can occur on either side of the head.
  • The pain is usually a severe, throbbing, pulsing pain.
  • Increasing pain during physical activity or when straining.
  • Inability to perform regular activities due to pain.
  • Feeling sick and physically vomiting.
  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound, relieved by lying quietly in a darkened room.
  • Some people experience other symptoms such as sweating, temperature changes, stomach ache, and diarrhea.


  • An underlying central nervous disorder may set off a migraine episode when triggered.
  • Irregularities in the brain’s blood vessel system, or vascular system, may cause migraines.
  • A genetic predisposition may cause migraines
  • Abnormalities of brain chemicals and nerve pathways may cause migraine episodes.


  • Watch what you eat and drink. If you get a headache, write down the foods and drinks you had before it started. If you see a pattern over time, stay away from that item.
  • Eat regularly. Don't skip meals.
  • Curb the caffeine. Too much, in any food or drink, can trigger a migraine. But cutting back suddenly may also cause them. So try to slowly ease off caffeine.
  • Be careful with exercise. Everyone needs regular physical activity. It’s a key part of being healthy. But it can trigger headaches for some people. If you’re one of them, you can still work out. Ask your doctor what would help.
  • Get regular shut-eye. If your sleep habits get thrown off, or if you’re very tired, that can make a migraine more likely.
  • Keep up your energy. Eat on a regular schedule, and don’t let yourself get dehydrated.


Night blindness

Night blindness (impaired dark adaptation) is the experience of reduced night vision. It typically causes people to not be able to see well in the darkness but be able to see without problem when it is not dark. This condition, unless accompanied by other eye pathology, is not true blindness; even at nighttime, the eye is not "blind" but occurs because the rods of the photoreceptor cells which are needed for dim light are not functioning correctly.


Night blindness symptoms can vary on an individual basis for each patient. Symptoms include weak vision in dim light, difficulty seeing during night driving, and vision adapting slowly between bright and dim light conditions. Only your doctor can provide adequate diagnosis of any signs or symptoms and whether they are indeed night blindness symptoms.


Night blindness is due to a disorder of the cells in the retina that are responsible for vision in dim light. It has many causes, including:

  • Short-sightedness
  • Glaucoma medications that work by constricting the pupil
  • Cataracts
  • Retinitis pigments
  • Vitamin A deficiency


  • Including plenty of Vitamin A in the diet. Foods rich in vitamin A include dairy products, egg yolks, fish liver oil, and liver, yellow-green fruits and vegetables like papaya, carrots, mangoes, melons, bell peppers, and spinach.
  • Regular eye check-ups with an ophthalmologist .
  • Primary prevention may be relevant in resource-poor countries, where there is often vitamin A deficiency, and, in particular, in pregnant women
  • A healthy balanced diet should provide the recommended daily amount of vitamin A. Patients diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa may wish to take supplemental vitamin A and should consult their ophthalmologist.
  • Genetic screening is available for many of the inherited chorioretinal dystrophies. This may establish the pattern of inheritance of the genetic defect and allow the risk of transmitting the gene to future children to be calculated. It should be remembered that research is ongoing into many of the inherited chorioretinal dystrophies, as many genetic defects have not been identified.



The plague is a serious bacterial infection that can be deadly. Sometimes referred to as the "black plague," the disease is caused by bacterial strain called Yersinia pestis. This bacterium is found on animals throughout the world and is usually transmitted to humans through fleas.


  • Symptoms of bubonic plague generally appear within two to six days fever and chills, headache, muscle pain, general weakness, seizures.
  • Pneumonic plague symptoms may appear as quickly as one day after exposure to the bacteria trouble breathing, chest pain, cough, fever, headache, overall weakness, bloody sputum (saliva and mucus or pus from the lungs).
  • Septicemic plague symptoms usually start within two to seven days after exposure, but septicemic plague can lead to death before symptoms even appear abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, fever and chills, extreme weakness, bleeding (blood may not be able to clot), shock, skin turning black (gangrene).


The plague bacteria, Yersinia pestis, are transmitted to humans when they are bitten by fleas that have previously fed on infected animals, such as:

  • Rats
  • Squirrels
  • Rabbits
  • Prairie dogs
  • Chipmunks


  • Reduce rodent habitat around your home, work place, and recreational areas. Remove brush, rock piles, junk, cluttered firewood, and possible rodent food supplies, such as pet and wild animal food. Make your home and outbuildings rodent-proof.
  • Wear gloves if you are handling or skinning potentially infected animals to prevent contact between your skin and the plague bacteria. Contact your local health department if you have questions about disposal of dead animals.
  • Use repellent if you think you could be exposed to rodent fleas during activities such as camping, hiking, or working outdoors. Products containing DEET can be applied to the skin as well as clothing and products containing permethrin can be applied to clothing (always follow instructions on the label).
  • Keep fleas off of your pets by applying flea control products. Animals that roam freely are more likely to come in contact with plague infected animals or fleas and could bring them into homes. If your pet becomes sick, seek care from a veterinarian as soon as possible.
  • Do not allow dogs or cats that roam free in endemic areas to sleep on your bed.



Poliomyelitis, or polio, is a virus that causes a serious disease. It is spread from person to person.

Most of the time, polio has no symptoms unless the polio virus gets into the blood. It is uncommon for the virus to enter the brain or spinal cord. If this does happen, it can cause muscles to become paralyzed.


  • Signs and symptoms of non-paralytic polio can last from one to 10 days. These signs fever, sore throat, headache, vomiting, fatigue, meningitis.
  • Initial symptoms are similar to non-paralytic polio. But after a week, more severe symptoms will appear loss of reflexes, severe spasms and muscle pain, loose and floppy limbs, sometimes on just one side of the body, sudden paralysis, temporary or permanent, deformed limbs, especially the hips, ankles and feet.


The polio virus usually enters the environment in the feces of someone who is infected. In areas with poor sanitation, the virus easily spreads from feces into the water supply, or, by touch, into food. In addition, because polio is so contagious, direct contact with a person infected with the virus can cause polio.


  • Provision of clean water, improved hygienic practices and sanitation are important for reducing the risk of transmission in endemic countries.
  • Exclude people with polio from childcare, preschool, school and work until a public health doctor has given a clearance to return
  • Vaccination provides protection from poliovirus infection
  • The first dose of polio vaccine, in combination with other vaccines, is now recommended to be given at 6 weeks of age. Adults should have received a minimum of 3 doses of vaccine previously.
  • Booster vaccinations are recommended for travelers to countries where polio occurs, health care workers and laboratory workers handling specimens containing live poliovirus.



Rabies is a neurotropic virus, viral zoonotic disease that causes acute encephalitis. Usually, people (and animals) die from it (it is fatal). There is no cure for it. People who are treated soon after becoming infected have a chance to survive. The disease is transmitted through the saliva and the blood. The usual form of getting it is a bite of a rabid mammal. Pets, like dogs need to be vaccinated against it, in most countries.


The first symptoms of rabies may be very similar to the flu and may last for days. Later signs Fever, Headache, Nausea, Vomiting, Agitation, Anxiety, Confusion, Hyperactivity. Difficulty swallowing, Excessive salivation, Fear of water (hydrophobia) because of the difficulty in swallowing, Hallucinations, Insomnia, Partial paralysis.


Rabies infection is caused by the rabies virus. The virus is spread through the saliva of infected animals. Infected animals can spread the virus by biting another animal or a person. In rare cases, rabies can be spread when infected saliva gets into an open wound or the mucous membranes, such as the mouth or eyes. This could occur if an infected animal were to lick an open cut on your skin.


  • Get your pets vaccinated. The most common way for humans to get rabies infections is by way of their pets. Having your dogs, cats, and ferrets vaccinated is an important form of prevention, both for you and for them. Take your pets to the vet to start the process right away.
  • Supervise your pets when they're outdoors. Do not allow them to come in contact with wild animals. Mammals like squirrels, raccoons, opossums, and bats can carry rabies and pass them to dogs, cats and ferrets by biting them. Keep your animals on a leash or behind a fence to prevent this from happening.
  • Careful when you're abroad. Certain countries still have high rates of rabies infections. Consult with a doctor, travel clinic, or your local health department before traveling abroad. Ask them about the risk of exposure to rabies, pre exposure prophylaxis, and what you should do in case of an exposure to the virus.
  • Don't handle wild animals. Do not handle, feed, or attempt to attract wild animals to your home. Do not adopt wild animals. Being around wild animals puts you and your pets at risk for contracting rabies.


Swine influenza

Swine influenza virus is a virus that is common in pigs. This type of influenza virus can also infect humans and birds. Swine influenza virus is sometimes called SIV or swine flu.

Swine flu is common in pigs. Normally, it only infects people who have been in close contact with pigs. However, the disease has also spread from one person to another.


The symptoms of swine flu are very much like those of regular influenza chills, fever, coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, fatigue, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.


Swine flu is very contagious. The disease is spread through saliva and mucus particles sneezing, coughing, touching a germ-covered surface and then touching their eyes or nose.


1. Avoid close contact. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

2. Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.

3. Cover your mouth and nose. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

4. Clean your hands. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

5. Practice other good health habits. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.



Typhoid, also called typhoid fever, is an illness caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi. The disease is spread through water which has the Salmonella Typhi bacteria in it (transmission is by faeco oral route)

Typhoid usually lasts between two weeks and a month. The symptoms of typhoid often appear 10 to 14 days after infection. If no treatment is given, between one and three out of every ten patients die. The rest usually get better after a month, at the most.


Symptoms usually appear 1 or 2 weeks after infection but may take as long as 3 weeks to appear. Typhoid usually causes a high, sustained fever, often as high as 40°C (104°F), and extreme exhaustion, constipation, cough, headache, loss of appetite, stomach pains, sore throat, bleeding from the rectum, delirium, diarrhea, temporary pink spots on the chest and abdomen.


Typhoid is usually transmitted by water or food, in much the same way as cholera. People who are infected excrete live bacteria in their feces and urine. They are usually contagious for a few days before any symptoms develop, so they don't know they need to take extra precautions. If they don't wash their hands properly, the typhoid bacillus can be transferred to food or water and from there to another person. Also, it can be spread directly from person to person via contaminated fingers.


  • Wash your hands. Frequent hand-washing in hot, soapy water is the best way to control infection. Wash before eating or preparing food and after using the toilet. Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer for times when water isn't available.
  • Avoid drinking untreated water. Contaminated drinking water is a particular problem in areas where typhoid fever is endemic. For that reason, drink only bottled water or canned or bottled carbonated beverages, wine and beer. Carbonated bottled water is safer than uncarbonated bottled water is.
  • Ask for drinks without ice. Use bottled water to brush your teeth, and try not to swallow water in the shower.
  • Avoid raw fruits and vegetables. Because raw produce may have been washed in unsafe water, avoid fruits and vegetables that you can't peel, especially lettuce. To be absolutely safe, you may want to avoid raw foods entirely.
  • Choose hot foods. Avoid food that's stored or served at room temperature. Steaming hot foods are best. And although there's no guarantee that meals served at the finest restaurants are safe, it's best to avoid food from street vendors — it's more likely to be contaminated.


Viral fever

Viral fever refers to a wide range of viral infections, usually characterized by an increase in normal body temperature. It is quite common in children and old people due to lowered immunity. People suffering from these infections also experience body aches, skin rashes and headache.


Once the virus enters the body, there is an incubation period when the virus multiplies to a level high enough to cause infection. This is followed by a prodromal phase of fatigue, malaise and body and muscle aches that may lead to the onset of fever. The fever may be low grade or high grade and remittent. Inflammation of the pharynx, a running nose, nasal congestion, headache, redness of the eyes, cough, muscle and joint pains and a skin rash could be present. Sometimes pneumonia, vomiting and diarrhoea, jaundice or arthritis (joint swelling) may complicate the initial viral fever.


Most viral infections are spread by inhalation of aerosolised particles, by intake of contaminated water or food, or by direct contact. Infection then spreads locally and thereafter into the blood stream or lymph channels. Some of the viral infections can be transmitted sexually or by direct inoculation into the blood stream.


One must drink only clean water and use boiled water or water purifiers.
" One should change their hand towels after a day's use.
" One should cover their mouth and nose with a handkerchief while coughing or sneezing.
" Use mosquito repellents and nets (dengue transmitting mosquitoes usually bite during day time; either early morning or late evening).
" One should keep their wet and soggy clothes or shoes away from dry garments.
" Avoid eating out and consume as much fresh food as possible.
" Drink warm water every two hours and carry home-boiled water while travelling.
“Avoid visiting crowded places such as theatres or exhibitions.
"Use hand sanitizers while travelling.
" Cover your nose while travelling on a bike/while seated next to the window in a bus or train.
" Avoid getting wet in the rain.


Yellow fever

Yellow fever is a serious, potentially deadly flu-like disease spread by mosquitoes. It’s characterized by a high fever and jaundice. Jaundice is yellowing of the skin and eyes, which is why this disease is called yellow fever.


Yellow fever develops quickly, with symptoms occurring three to six days after exposure. The initial symptoms of the infection are similar to those of the influenza virus headaches, muscle aches, joint aches, chills, fever.


The Flavivirus causes yellow fever, and it’s transmitted when an infected mosquito bites you. Mosquitoes become infected with the virus when they bite an infected human or monkey. The disease cannot be spread from one person to another.


  • Exclusion of people with yellow fever from childcare, preschool, school or work is not necessary but people should avoid being bitten by mosquitoes while they are unwell.
  • Vaccination is the single most important measure for preventing yellow fever. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to countries where yellow fever transmission occurs.
  • Immunisation against yellow fever must be provided by an approved yellow fever vaccination clinic (PDF 92KB)(opens in a new window).
  • A number of countries have specific mandatory vaccination requirements for travellers entering that country. Many countries, including Australia, require travellers coming from yellow fever infected countries to show proof of immunisation upon entry. This should be kept in mind when planning a travel itinerary.
  • Personal protection and the environmental management of mosquitoes are very important in preventing infection in regions where the virus is present. See Fight the Bite for tips how to protect yourself and your family from mosquito borne diseases.


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