Posts

10 Facts About Life Expectancy in Croatia
Croatia is a small country in Southeastern Europe’s Balkan Peninsula on the Adriatic Sea. It is about 56,594 square kilometers, which is smaller than West Virginia and has a population of about 4.2 million. As of 2018, Croatia’s overall GDP was $60.8 billion, according to the World Bank. The country’s economy received a boost from joining the European Union in 2013 that helped facilitate its recovery from the 2008 global financial crisis.

However, the country still faces challenges. Due to factors including an aging population, increasing levels of emigration and a declining birth rate, Croatia’s population has been in decline for decades. After reaching a peak of 4.7 million in 1990, the population dipped back to levels that the country saw in 1960. Many expect Croatia’s population to slip to 3.4 million by 2050. Enmeshed within the discussion of Croatia’s population is the aspect of life expectancy. Croatia’s average life expectancy is 77.8 years. Here are 10 facts about life expectancy in Croatia.

10 Facts About Life Expectancy in Croatia

  1. Life expectancy has steadily increased over time. The average life expectancy in 1960 was 64.6. The age has increased ever since with just a few exceptions. There was a slight dip between 1977 and 1985, again between 1991 and 1992 and again from a peak of 78 in 2016 to what it is now.
  2. Croatia’s medical advancements and increased life quality have helped improve life expectancy. Total Croatia News also reported that declines in the past were because of “extraordinary situations” including wars or disasters. The declines in the early ’80s and early ’90s coincided with rising tensions linked to Croatia’s 1991 war for independence from Serbian-controlled Yugoslavia. There have been no recent major events in Croatia.
  3. Life expectancy is higher for Croatian women than men. Echoing the commonality for male versus female life expectancy across the developed world, women in Croatia have a higher life expectancy. For women, the average age of death is 80.9 years old compared to 74.9 years for men.
  4. Historically, life expectancy has differed for Croats living on one of Croatia’s 1,000 islands than those living on the mainland. In the past, male Croatian islanders lived three to 10 years longer than mainland men, while island women lived two to seven years longer than mainland women, according to a study that the Croatian Medical Journal published in 2018. However, researchers found the gap in life expectancy for islanders versus mainland Croats has shrunk, with islanders having lost mortality advantages due to diminishing adherence to a traditional Mediterranean diet and lifestyle.
  5. For the past decade, the leading causes of premature death in Croatia have been ischemic heart disease, stroke and lung cancer. The rate per 100,000 people of deaths due to ischemic heart disease as of 2018 was 1,907.6. Further, the rates of deaths stood at 1,000.5 and 726.8 for stroke and lung cancer respectively. As smoking and diet flaws play a substantial role in these figures, the Croatian government and leading health organizations are gradually working to address these issues. In the early 2000s, the Ministry of Health commissioned its first national survey examining cardiovascular risk problems and formulated a health care intervention program based on the results. In recent years, Croatia created a heart health-focused national e-campaign to reduce salt consumption in diets and other initiatives.
  6. While the leading causes of death have remained stagnant, there have been sharp changes in the top causes of death. Road incidents went from Croatia’s seventh-highest cause of death in 2007 to 13th highest in 2017. A study credits this to the government’s implementation of a new road safety program and enhanced enforcement of laws linked to key problem areas. These areas include speeding, drunk-driving and failure to use motorcycle helmets, seat-belts and child restraints. Meanwhile, Alzheimer’s disease has moved from the eighth highest cause of death to the fifth, which echoes a global rise in the prevalence of the disease.
  7. Concurrent with declining birth rates, infant mortality rates have steadily declined over the last three decades. Croatia’s birth rate per 1,000 people stood at 8.9 in 2017 compared to 14.6 in 1981. During the same time period, the infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births improved to four from 20.7 in 1981.
  8. Croatia stacks up fairly well against other countries. Croatia’s life expectancy is average compared to its bordering Balkan neighbors. Based on 2017 data, the country’s life expectancy is on par with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. Croatia has a higher life expectancy than Serbia and Hungary and a lower one than Slovenia. Croatia ranked as the 31st healthiest nation in the world in 2019 and its capital city Zagreb ranked as the 16th healthiest capital city in Europe.
  9. There have been reports of problems with health care for women. In 2018, a Croatian parliament member shared a story on the parliament floor about a poorly handled abortion procedure, re-igniting a longstanding national debate about health care for women. The BBC subsequently produced a story on how the member’s story inspired hundreds of other women to share their own experiences.
  10. Croatia’s health triumphs could be a result of its health care system. Croatia has a universal and mandatory health insurance scheme. The program utilizes both private and public care providers and the national Croatia Health Insurance Fund funds the system. The country’s health care system is so well regarded that medical tourism in Croatia continues to grow in popularity.

These 10 facts about life expectancy in Croatia show that the health care system is not perfect, indicating life expectancy is not as high as it could be. However, the nation does boast several positive characteristics. The evolving internal and external economics and unfolding policy initiatives in the country are likely to impact life expectancy, as well as other quality of life elements.

Amanda Ostuni
Photo: Flickr

Top Ten Facts About Living in Croatia
Nestled between Bosnia, Herzegovina and Slovenia, Croatia is a small country in Eastern Europe with an extensive history. Once a part of Yugoslavia, Croatia officially declared its independence in 1991 and became a fully developed country in 1998. Despite the country’s tumultuous beginnings as an independent nation, it has established itself fairly well as a developed nation. Keep reading to learn about the top 10 facts about living conditions in Croatia.

Top 10 Facts About Living Conditions in Croatia

  1. Ninety-nine percent of children attend primary school, which is split into two stages: grades one to four and grades five to eight. After primary school, children receive the option of stopping school or obtaining a secondary education. There are three options for secondary education in Croatia including grammar schools, vocational schools and art schools. After completing any of these options and receiving a Certificate of Education, students may enroll in a university.
  2. Croatia requires people to have a public health insurance plan as of 2002 which is funded via tax collections. While the quality of medical care in Croatia is good, the country is facing a financial problem due to low fertility rates in relation to the older population. To help combat this burden, doctor’s appointments, hospital visits and prescription medications require co-payments.
  3. Taking the bus is the most efficient way to travel in Croatia. The railways are not up-to-date and run slowly, whereas the bus systems are well-developed and fairly priced. Other travel options throughout Croatia include flights, coastal ferries and of course, driving.
  4. A portion of Croatia’s population (24.4 percent) is obese, ranking the country 59th in the world for obesity rates. The large reliance on transportation to get around the country may be a cause.
  5. Up until the 1990s, Croatia’s population was steadily increasing. In the 1990s, however, the population underwent a significant demise in population growth due to displacement from war, emigration to countries like the United States, Australia and Canada and increased deaths. As of 2018, 40 percent of the Croatian population is between the ages of 25 and 54, which places stress on both the majority population of older citizens and the minority population of younger citizens.
  6. Formerly a communist state up until 1990, Croatia’s economy has shifted to market-oriented capitalism. This shift was not easy due to the lasting effects of war in the country, leading to high unemployment rates lasting into the 21st century. Additionally, Croatia’s war-torn past has allowed the country to sustain an informal economy and has led to the emergence of a black market.
  7. Unemployment is prevalent among young Croatian citizens in particular, with 27.4 percent of people between the ages of 15 and 24, and 12.4 percent of the total population living without work. However, the government’s economic reform plan — scheduled for implementation beginning in 2019 — may lead to more job opportunities.
  8. Croatia largely depends on its imports in terms of resources and power. It uses up more oil and gas than it can produce, and while it has enough rivers to potentially use hydroelectric power, Croatia receives the vast majority of its electricity as imports. Croatia has begun efforts to implement the use of liquefied natural gas by early 2020, planning to redistribute this LNG throughout southeast Europe.
  9. Croatia had no organized armed forces when the country declared its independence in 1991 but subsequently formed an army, a navy and an air force. The country is not very militaristic and relies mostly on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for national security after joining the Treaty in 2009.
  10. Croatia is not a significant haven for refugees, though refugees do use it as a transit country. Between 2015 and 2019, roughly 672,418 refugees and migrants passed through Croatia. However, as of June 2018, the country only had about 340 asylum seekers actually residing in Croatia.

These top 10 facts about living conditions in Croatia make it clear that despite progress, the country still has work to improve the quality of life for its inhabitants.

– Emi Cormier
Photo: Flickr

Child Labor
Child labor is defined as the employment of children who are under the legal working age. Currently, there are about 265 million children engaged in child labor around the world. While this is clearly not ideal, there has been a reduction in child labor across the globe, from 23 percent of children working in 2000 to close to 17 percent in 2012. Many countries whose laws once allowed for child labor now protect their children from such harsh conditions instead.

Where Countries Are Based on Levels of Income

There are four basic income levels. Level 1 is extreme poverty; the family can barely afford to eat and must get water from wells. Level 2 is lower-middle income; the family can afford decent food and shoes. Level 3 is upper-middle income; the family can afford running water and basic appliances. Level 4 is high income; the family can afford a nice house and cars.

The higher a family’s income, the less likely they are to have their children work from a young age. Likewise, the higher a country’s income, the less likely they are to approve of child labor. We can see the likelihood of child labor by looking at the income level of different countries.

Level 4: Ireland

In 18th and 19th century Ireland, children were routinely put to work because they could be paid less than what adult workers were paid, they could operate certain machines that adults could not and it was believed that they would grow up to be harder workers. In many cases, children aged 3 to 7 were outright kidnapped by organized trade rings and forced to do whatever work their masters wanted them to.

The Protection of Young Persons (Employment) Act of 1996 changed all of that. Under this law, Irish employers cannot make children younger than 16 work full time. Additionally, employers cannot hire anyone under age 14 at all. Children aged 14 to 15 can only do light work during school holiday periods, work in educational programs that are not harmful to their health or cultural enrichment jobs. On top of that, employees aged 18 or younger must receive a minimum of €6.69 per hour, which is 70 percent of the Irish adult minimum wage.

Level 3: Croatia

In Croatia, the legal minimum age for work is 15. From the ages of 15 to 18 years old, children can only work with written permission from their parents, and inspections must show that the labor does not interfere with the child’s health, morality or education. In addition, anyone caught dealing in child prostitution in any way will face a three to 10-month prison sentence.

These laws have not stopped all child labor in Croatia. Roma children are often forced to beg in the streets, and Croatia experiences the active trafficking of young girls for prostitution. That said, the 2006-2012 National Program for the Protection of the Best Interests of Children made great strides in the reduction in child labor, particularly prostitution.

Level 2: Sudan

Of Sudan’s 37.96 million children, 45,600 are currently subject to child labor. Not only are there no laws against child labor, but the government also encourages it by kidnapping children in rural areas during military raids. These children start working at age 5, so they miss out on their educations, which otherwise would be compulsory.

However, Sudan has made strides in decreasing the child labor rate, including signing a Partnership Protocol Agreement with the European Union in 2008 and inspecting working environments to keep children from working in toxic conditions. Unfortunately, little has been done to help rural areas. Families have to migrate to urban areas or to other countries to escape labor and let their children get an education. Although, escape from Sudan is illegal and far from easy, it is still possible.

Level 1: Niger

The child labor rate in Niger is 42.8 percent. The jobs that young children are made to perform include agriculture, mining, caste-based servitude and forced begging. The government has set up a number of programs to reduce child labor, including Centers for Education, Legal, and Preventative Service; The Project to Reduce Child Labor in Agriculture; and The World Bank Country Program. However, these programs have made only moderate advances in stopping child labor.

Child labor continues to be a problem in the world today. Poor and corrupt countries are quick to put children to work because the children do not require high wages. However, laws and legislation all over the world have resulted in a global reduction in child labor. It has not stopped child labor altogether, but a little progress is better than none at all. The fight to end child labor continues.

Cassie Parvaz
Photo: Flickr

Facts About the Ustase GenocideMost people know little about or have never heard of the Ustase – a Croatian, racist, Nazi-like movement formed in 1929 that ruled Croatia during World War II. Modeled after the Italian fascists, the Ustase sought to separate Croatia from Yugoslavia in order to attain Croatian independence and create a “pure” Croatian state, using genocide to rid the country of “impure” people. This dark period for Croatia resulted in the Ustase genocide.

Top 10 facts about the Ustase Genocide:

  1. The targets of the Ustase genocide were mainly Serbs, Jews and Gypsies. These groups were also the main targets of the German Nazi genocide (the Holocaust).
  2. Initially, the Ustase’s enacted race laws against the groups they saw as non-Croatian and who they felt threatened Croatian identity, much like how the Nazi’s established race rules against those who weren’t considered pure Germans.
  3. Additionally, like the German Nazis, the Ustase also established concentration camps to carry out their ethnic cleansing. The largest was Jasenovac where the Ustase murdered around 70,000 to 100,000 people.
  4. The Jewish population of Croatia was practically eliminated – almost all of the 40,000 Jews that resided in Croatia were murdered.
  5. It is estimated that about 30,000 Croatian Gypsies were murdered as well. The most number of deaths comes from the Serbs killed by the Ustase; it is estimated (on the low end) that 300,000 to 400,000 Serbs were murdered in the Ustase genocide. Some reports estimate that around 750,000 Serbians perished.
  6. The leader of the Ustase movement, Ante Pavelic, fled to South America after the end of World War II in 1945. He eventually moved to Spain and died in 1959 at the age of 70 and was never prosecuted for his crimes.
  7. The racism in Croatia did not end after the end of World War II, it continued into the later twentieth century with Serbs still being persecuted and even murdered as late as 1991.
  8. Even the United States was complicit in the continued racism in Croatia. The Assistant US Secretary of State who served as the American Ambassador to Germany during the beginning of the Yugoslav War, Richard Holbrooke, represented the US view that “The Serbs started this war.”
  9. Unlike the German concentration camps, which most often used gas chambers to murder the innocent people they targeted, the Ustase genocide was carried out through much more brutal means. Croatian Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies were cruelly beheaded, drowned and murdered in other barbaric and torturous ways.
  10. Even the German Nazis noticed the brutality of the Ustase. A Gestapo report to Heinrich Himmler from 1942 stated, “The Ustaše committed their deeds in a bestial manner not only against males of conscript age but especially against helpless old people, women and children.”

The shocking cruelty of the Ustase genocide has gone forgotten but should be remembered as an example of the senseless tragedy that occurs from allowing nationalism and racism to fester rather than rooting it out immediately.

Mary Kate Luft

Photo: Flickr

Common Diseases in CroatiaSince declaring its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, Croatia’s emerging economy has propelled the country to the rank of international tourist hotspot. The rustic beauty of its coastal towns, the glittering ocean waters, and historical cities make it a natural contender when choosing desirable getaway settings.

With its undeniable destination appeal bolstering revenue, Croatia’s growing prosperity has paved the way to an improved and functional universal healthcare system that has dramatically reduced the mortality from communicable diseases. Nevertheless, as a transitioning nation, there are still struggles to overcome and common diseases in Croatia that must be addressed. Here are a few of the most common diseases in Croatia.

  1. Coronary Heart Disease
    Like developed nations, one of the most common diseases in Croatia and most prevalent causes of premature death is coronary heart disease. According to the World Health Organization, it was estimated that heart disease accounted for 48 percent of deaths in 2014, compared to 31 percent for the United States in the same year. In Croatia, the leading risk factors include smoking, obesity, hypertension and diabetes. The good news, however, is that in 2015 Croatia saw a 5.2 percent decrease in the number of premature deaths caused by heart disease from 2005.Despite these statistics, Croatia is still considered to be among the highest for cardiovascular risk compared to other European countries. To strengthen preventative measures, the Croatian Heart Foundation has spearheaded a national e-campaign called “Heart Keepers” that seeks to educate medical professionals and patients alike on preventative care concerning the disease. It contains online courses for physicians as well as a mobile app to connect patients with healthcare providers. The campaign is the first of its kind in Croatia and was set to be implemented during the entirety of 2016.
  2. Lung Cancer
    Lung cancer ranks third in leading cause of death and common diseases in Croatia, right behind heart disease and stroke. Smoking is the leading cause, with nearly 30 percent of the adult population being smokers.Other reasons for such a high mortality rate could be a lack of resources, education and proper preventative care and treatment plans. While the healthcare system in Croatia is fairly developed compared to other transitional countries, it still lacks a focused strategy for reducing the risk of lung cancer in its population.

    This approach might include a campaign to better control risky behaviors like tobacco and alcohol use, or to decrease the exposure to occupational hazards and air pollution.

  3. Tick-Borne Encephalitis
    Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a viral infectious disease affecting the central nervous system. It is contracted most often through the bite of an infected tick belonging to the Ixodidae family, although it may be transmitted by the consumption of raw dairy products as well. Thousands of people are infected every year in high-risk regions spanning across Europe and Asia.Croatia is an endemic region for this disease and it is particularly common in forested and rural areas. The number of cases continues to rise as the tick population increases during bi-annual peak seasons (late March to Early June; August to October) due to mounting regional temperatures.

    Two-thirds of patients experience non-specific, wide-ranging symptoms including fever, headaches, nausea, and general malaise. Twenty to 30 percent of patients enter a second phase of the illness after a brief remission period. These patients experience the more extreme symptoms associated with encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) such as a decline in motor abilities, confusion, seizures or paralysis.

    Presently, there is no definite drug therapy for tick-borne encephalitis. Patients experiencing symptoms are hospitalized and treated on a case-to-case basis depending on the severity of the disease. There are, however, vaccines available as a preventive measure.

The good news is that deaths resulting from the common diseases in Croatia have almost been reduced to solely noncommunicable illnesses, with infectious diseases like malaria all but eradicated. In 2014, the total percentage of death from factors like malnutrition, infectious disease and prenatal and maternity complications was a mere 1 percent. In the United States that number was 6 percent in the same year.

This staggering triumph for Croatia demonstrates how far the country has come in eradicating curable diseases. Its greatest challenge now will be developing strategies to tackle such formidable killers as heart disease and cancer, no easy feat when the cures for these illnesses continue to evade the medical institutions in even the wealthiest of industrialized nations.

Mickie Fischer

Photo: Flickr

Why Is Croatia Poor
Croatia is one of the more economically unstable European Union countries, with 19.5 percent of its population falling below the poverty line. There are many regional disparities within Croatia, with some areas making efforts towards industrializing while in others have done little to no effort. In order to improve the situation in the future, a question must be answered: why is Croatia so poor?

Many of the highest rates of poverty are found in small towns and settlements in the east and southeast regions of Croatia, along the country’s border with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. These areas were the most profoundly affected by the Homeland War of the 1990s and failed to recover afterward.

Croatian poverty is often attributed to the fallout after Croatia gained independence in 1991 and moved to a free-market system. During this transition, there was very little progress made towards the privatization of industries, and some faith was lost when the government appointed political favorites to influential positions.

Many groups that depended on the government, including pensioners and previously middle-class people, suffered greatly because of the changing economic system and the impact of the war. The U.N. Development Program’s 1999 Human Development Program reported that, in 1997, the average pension was less than half of the average salary.  On top of this, many pension payments were often months late.  Currently, the pension system is becoming increasingly overburdened as the ratio of pensioners to workers increases.

To reduce its poverty rate and answer the question “why is Croatia poor?”, Croatia is taking part in the Europe 2020 Strategy.  This strategy was developed to lessen the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion by 2020. This goal will require development and successful implementation of policies and programs that specifically target people who risk falling below the poverty line.

Croatia has also developed “The Strategy for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion in the Republic of Croatia 2014-2020,” which seeks to identify population groups that are extremely vulnerable to poverty and social discrimination. These groups are usually made up of older people, single parent families, lower educated individuals, disabled people, war veterans and victims of war and ethnic minorities such as Roma and Serbs.

By creating more social programs to support these groups and strengthening inter-European trade, Croatia can hopefully reduce its poverty rate and expand its economy.

Saru Duckworth

Photo: Pixabay


The cost of living in Croatia is relatively steep in comparison to the minimum monthly wage, though expected growth in the region’s economy and hikes in the area’s minimum wage will benefit its residents trying to make ends meet.

This year alone, the country’s economy is expected to grow by 2.9 percent, according to the World Bank. In the following year, it is projected to increase by approximately 2.6 percent.

Items such as service exports, investments and personal consumption all contribute to the economy’s growth.

According to Wageindicator, as of March 2017, the minimum monthly wage in Croatia is just shy of $507. In comparison, approximate month-to-month living costs in Croatia total around $330.

Other expenses such as food, clothing and utilities often push the total cost of living over the minimum monthly wage. This fact means residents might resort to sharing a living space with multiple people, though these spaces are often not intended for more than one person.

According to an article from Croatia Week, in Zagreb, the country’s capital, the average resident will earn a little under $1,000 a month. Of these wages, just over $200 must be set aside for utility bills, according to the article.

A full week’s work is required to cover basic living costs in Zagreb. Approximately 38 hours of work per week are needed in Zagreb to cover the cost of utilities.

Compared to other European capitals, Zagreb has some of the highest utility rates, topping even that of London, one of the world’s most expensive cities.  The cost of living in Croatia is typically greater than that of its neighboring countries.

In recent years, a rise in tourism in the region has increased the cost of living in Croatia. Compared to other Eastern European countries, everyday costs are significantly higher in Croatia, though they are lower than Western Europe and the U.S.

Leah Potter

Photo: Flickr

10 Facts About Croatia Refugees
Croatia is a top tourist destination with its long, beautiful coastline along the Adriatic Sea, and tourism accounts for 17 percent of country’s annual gross national product. However, over the past 25 years, the country has been in headlines for something quite different. The Balkan Wars of the 1990s saw a large number of Croatian refugees leaving the country. In addition, the Syrian refugee crisis of the last few years has caused an influx of foreign refugees into Croatia. Syrian, Afghan and Iraqi refugees began arriving in Croatia in 2015. Below are 10 facts about Croatian refugees.

  1. Croatia declared its independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991. This resulted in a war that lasted until 1995. During this time, 900,000 Croats were displaced both inside and outside the country.
  2. It is estimated that between 200,000 and 300,000 ethnic Serbs left Croatia in August 1995 after a military conflict. In turn, 130,000 ethnic Croats left Bosnia and Herzegovina for Croatia.
  3. War broke out in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992. During the war, an estimated 403,000 refugees arrived in Croatia as a result of the conflict.
  4. The Croatian refugees who left the country began returning in 1996. By 2012, more than 132,600 of the Croatian refugees of Serbian descent had returned to Croatia. One of the main issues impeding their return was housing. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has worked to help alleviate this problem as well as the legal, social and technical issues that arise for returning refugees.
  5. In 2015, Croatia faced new refugee challenges, when a huge wave of Syrian refugees arrived en route to northern Europe. During this influx, more than 800,000 people passed through Croatia.
  6. During this period, there were two refugee camps set up in Croatia, and the government provided free transport for refugees to Hungary and later to Slovenia.
  7. On September 16, 2015, Croatia became one of the main transit countries when Hungary closed its borders to refugees. Since then, the country sees approximately 12,000 entries each day.
  8. The Balkan refugee route was effectively closed in March of 2016, when Slovenia closed its borders to migrants, and Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia quickly followed suit. The aim was to end the flow of migrants to Europe through the Balkans.
  9. As a member of the European Union, Croatia has an obligation to abide by a plan to relocate refugees from Greece and Italy, countries where the most refugees have arrived.
  10. Croatia has agreed to receive a total of 1,600 asylum-seekers by the end of 2017 as agreed with the EU resettlement scheme.

These 10 facts about Croatian refugees demonstrate that the refugees that left Croatia in the 1990s as well as those that have entered the country since 2015 have brought Croatia into world headlines for the last quarter of a century.

Jene Cates

Photo: Flickr


Croatia is one of the smaller countries in the world with just over four million people currently living in the country. The average life expectancy in Croatia is 77 years, which is higher than the average life expectancy worldwide, which is 71 years according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Females are expected to live longer than the males in Croatia. The most major diseases in Croatia mostly contribute to deaths from an older age group.

The top two causes of deaths in Croatia pertain to the heart and the vascular system. Topping the list is ischemic heart disease (IHD), which caused 12 percent more deaths in 2015 than in 2005. IHD is the leading cause of premature death in Croatia, and it has held this spot for more than 10 years. In this way, IHD has become quite a large problem for Croatia. The second-highest cause of death in the country is cerebrovascular disease; it has maintained the second spot for years as well.

Cancer holds the next few spots on the list of top diseases in Croatia. One disease which has risen in prevalence in Croatia is Alzheimer’s disease, which kills 45 percent more people in the country than it did in 2005. Alzheimer’s has affected many people around the world, and it is now on the rise in Croatia as well. It has risen one spot on the list from fifth place to fourth place in the span of 10 years.

Rounding out the list of top diseases in Croatia is COPD, hypertensive heart disease, falls, diabetes and breast cancer. Falls are the only entry on the list that is an injury; the rest are non-communicable diseases. The most prevalent communicable disease on the list is the 14th entry: lower respiratory infections.

Risk factors in Croatia that can cause some of these diseases to begin or persist include dietary risks, high blood pressure and tobacco, alcohol and drug use, among others. These are major risks behind the list of premature and preventable deaths in Croatia.

When traveling to Croatia, there are many vaccines that should be up-to-date or received for the first time weeks in advance of the trip. These vaccines include those for hepatitis A and B, as well as the rabies vaccine.

The most prevalent diseases in Croatia mirror some of the major diseases found in other countries around the world. Cancers and heart diseases are some of the highest causes of death and disease worldwide. This is a trend that needs to be taken seriously, along with every other disease on the list.

Brendin Axtman

Photo: Flickr


With an evolving population of 4.3 million people, Croatia is known for its rich historical culture, beautiful landscapes and pleasant climate. As a result, Croatia has become a booming tourist destination. Although widely known for its attractions, many transmittable diseases in Croatia threaten the health of its population and the country’s tourism industry.

Here are just a few of the threatening diseases in Croatia:

Typhoid Fever

Typhoid fever is a systemic infection, usually contracted through contaminated food or water. The symptoms include prolonged fever, nausea, headache, loss of appetite and constipation or diarrhea. It thrives in areas with poor sanitation and lack of clean drinking water. According to a study published in 2014, approximately 21 million cases and 222,000 typhoid-related deaths occur annually worldwide, demonstrating the real threat that this communicable infection poses.

Currently, there are two typhoid vaccines that are recommended for use, including an injectable polysaccharide vaccine (Vi-PS vaccine) for persons of age two years and above. The other vaccine is a live attenuated oral Ty21a vaccine for those over five years of age.

Malaria

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted through mosquito bites. The symptoms include fever, headache, chills and vomiting, which usually appear within 7 days or more (usually 10-15 days). If not treated quickly, this can progress to severe illness, often leading to death.

Malaria is preventable and curable, easing the burden in many countries around the world. Currently, there are no licensed vaccines against malaria or any other human parasite. However, with insecticide-treated mosquito nets and antimalarial drugs, malaria can be prevented.

Hepatitis B

As a viral infection that attacks the liver, hepatitis B is a virus that is transmitted through contact with blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person. Every year, more than 686 million people die due to the complications of hepatitis B, including cirrhosis and liver cancer.

A vaccine against hepatitis B is available in preventing the infection and the development of chronic disease and liver cancer complications. However, the treatment does not cure all cases of hepatitis B. By only suppressing the replication of the virus, lifelong treatments are necessary in order to fight against the complications of the virus.

Although the diseases in Croatia are constantly threatening the health of the country’s population and its tourism industry, many are continuing to develop innovative methods to help bring vaccinations and preventable solutions to Croatia, potentially saving millions of lives.

Brandon Johnson

Photo: Flickr