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Fighting the Most Common Diseases in Cambodia

Common Diseases in Cambodia
Since Cambodia is a developing country in Asia, it is prone to the spread of diseases. It is not uncommon for drinking water to be home to bacteria and other parasites. People, of course, rely on water for everything, making Cambodia’s contaminated water sources a major issue. Here are some of the most common diseases in Cambodia:

  1. Malaria
    Cities such as Phnom Penh and Siem Reap are free of the risk of malaria, but the rest of Cambodia is exposed to it. Female Anopheles mosquitos spread the disease in Cambodia at night through their bites. When a person is bitten, “parasites multiply in the liver attacking red blood cells resulting in cycles of fever, chills, and sweats accompanied by anemia.”Malaria can be contracted year-round, especially in the western part of the country, making it one of the most common diseases in Cambodia. Those who contract malaria must be put on an antimalarial drug so that it does not attack major organs and cut off blood flow to the brain.
    AIDS in Cambodia is the most common cause of death for children and female sex workers. For female prostitutes, it is extremely difficult to get the drugs needed to treat HIV because their line of work is illegal. An article in the New York Times states that “sex workers are about 12 times as likely to be infected with HIV as other women in their communities.” Many of these women are mothers and pass the disease onto their children.HIV has become such a major issue in Cambodia because there are not enough drugs accessible to mothers to prevent spreading it to their children. With less discrimination and easier access to needed medications, HIV/AIDS could be lessened.
  3. Dengue Fever
    Dengue fever is a disease that is mainly contracted from mosquitos during the rainy season in Cambodia. The infected mosquitos live wherever there is garbage or standing water which can be found in both rural and urban parts of Cambodia. It takes almost a week for the symptoms of dengue to appear, but when they do, many mistake them for the flu. This is usually followed by vomiting, pain in the abdomen and a high fever if it progresses into dengue hemorrhagic fever. Dengue is a disease in Cambodia that can be fatal but can also lead to immunity from infections.
  4. Tuberculosis
    The risk of contracting tuberculosis in Cambodia is high. It is an airborne infection that attacks the lungs and “the lymphatic system, central nervous system, urogenital area, joints, and bones.” People in Cambodia can contract tuberculosis by being around an infected person or drinking unpasteurized milk. Symptoms include chest pain, fever, lack of appetite and being extremely weak. While tuberculosis is typically treated with antibiotics, there is a growing concern that some people have developed a form of the infection that cannot be treated.

By taking more precautions and providing the tools needed to prevent these common diseases in Cambodia, the country could be looking at a healthier population.

Mackenzie Fielder

Photo: Flickr