Common Diseases in Cabo Verde

Vaccines have been a luxury for the leading countries of the world, but for poor countries, accessing them is much more difficult. Some diseases are preventable with a vaccine, but there are many that are not. Due to the poverty in Cabo Verde, diseases that can’t be prevented with a vaccine are just as common as the ones that can.

These are some common diseases in Cabo Verde that can be treated with a vaccine:

  1. Hepatitis A
    Hepatitis A is transmitted through contaminated food and water or through physical contact between people. Symptoms can take up to two weeks to appear and include jaundice or elevation of liver enzymes. In Cabo Verde, it is most common where the environment and drinking water are unclean.Hepatitis A typically lasts less than two months’ time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that “supportive care” is the best form of treatment. There are two vaccines available to prevent Hepatitis A — Vaqta and Harvix — which can be used on patients at least a year old.
  2. Hepatitis B
    According to the CDC, an estimated 248 million around the world people are infected with Hepatitis B. This disease is transmitted typically through blood and other fluids that are produced by the body. This can happen through the sharing of needles, unprotected sex and exposure to blood. Hepatitis B infects the liver and its symptoms are abdominal pain, jaundice, anorexia, vomiting and fatigue.For those with chronic Hepatitis B, antiviral drugs are available, otherwise, there is no direct treatment for it. There is a vaccine that is administered in three separate doses as a preventative measure.
  3. Yellow Fever
    Yellow Fever is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that is carrying the disease. Young children are the most likely to contract it because immunity is developed as people age. In Cabo Verde, Yellow Fever becomes a problem beginning in July when the weather becomes dry and typically ends in October.There are no direct treatments for Yellow Fever. Those that contract Yellow Fever are advised to rest, use analgesics and antipyretics to control the symptoms and avoid another mosquito bite. In Cabo Verde, it is required that travelers are vaccinated before entering the country. Revaccination is no longer required as of July of 2016, but proof of a vaccination is needed when leaving Cabo Verde and entering a new country.

These are some communicable common diseases in Cabo Verde that cannot be treated with a vaccine:

  1. African Tick-Bite Fever
    African Tick-Bite Fever is spread through the bite of ticks that are infected with the disease. Symptoms are typically soreness of muscles, rash and fever which typically appear two weeks after the bite. In Cabo Verde, the disease is most common from November through April.
  2. Chikungunya
    Chikungunya is a disease that is spread through mosquito bites. Those infected typically experience joint and muscle pain, fever, headache and rash. The mosquitoes carrying the disease are most active during the day near buildings in major cities.
  3. Dengue
    Like Chikungunya, Dengue is spread through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Its symptoms develop over the course of two weeks and are often fever, rash, muscle, joint and eye pain and vomiting. Some cases are more severe and bleeding, intense or even death can occur. Mosquitoes carrying Dengue are often found at an elevation of 6,500 feet and bite at any time in the day.

Prevention of common diseases in Cabo Verde is an important aspect for each citizen. Knowing what vaccinations are available and what measures to take when there isn’t one could keep the country from plummeting into a disastrous epidemic.

Mackenzie Fielder

Photo: Flickr