Africa’s Q — Quarantine

Why are contagious diseases so rampant in Africa?

February 23, 2005

Why are contagious diseases so rampant in Africa?

Except for highlands, most of the tropical regions of Africa provide usually good environments for undesirable life forms.

Historically, the prevalence of tropical diseases, notably yellow fever (which is why the quarantine flag is yellow), held back economic development in these areas.

Diseases afflict people and livestock more than in any other continent. Indeed, a number of diseases such as Ebola and Onchocerchiasis (river blindness) are native to Africa.

But the main reason that tropical diseases are so prevalent is, once again, extreme poverty, which limits what governments can do to help.

Making clean drinking water more broadly available would greatly help combat diseases, especially for children.