Six Killer Diseases of Childhood


Six Killer Diseases of Childhood


Children mostly affected by deadly diseases usually belong to under-developed or third world countries where proper medication and treatment is not readily available. One of the development goals of the UN was to reduce the mortality rate of children under the ages of 5.

Pediatric surgeons in Islamabad link this to the poor state of healthcare and lack of sufficient licensed and professional healthcare workers. Sometimes the vaccines cannot be distributed at the appropriate time in poorly developed countries which results in a higher mortality rate.

Many pharmaceutical companies have joined hands to provide life-saving vaccines to children. But there are still some diseases that cause more deaths than any other disease in children.

Such diseases are commonly referred to as killer diseases. For such diseases, prompt treatment is required and needed. Here are six killer diseases of childhood known worldwide:

  • Pneumonia

Pneumonia is basically the killer of the lungs. It is a severe bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the lungs and causes them to fill up with fluid. Severe pneumonia can kill almost anyone regardless of age. But it still kills more children worldwide than any other disease. Sometimes hospitalization is required to treat children with pneumonia.

The infant mortality rate due to pneumonia has fallen under one million. Malnutrition is the biggest risk factor. Since medication is not abruptly available in case any child falls ill.

  • Diarrhea

Diarrhea can be caused by a viral infection or a bacterial infection. Rotavirus and E. coli being the biggest suspect. Poor sanitation and hygiene conditions are the biggest cause of diarrhea. Contaminated water can cause the spread of infection in the body. Diarrhea can cause dehydration in the children which would need prompt treatment.

The infant mortality rate due to diarrhea has fallen under 500,000. Diarrhea induced death ratio is about 70 percent. Diarrhea along with Pneumonia kills more children than any other disease.

  • Malaria

Malaria occurs due to an infected female mosquito bite. It is a tropical disease and is most common in Asian and tropical countries. Malaria causes a high fever along with chills. These symptoms are accompanied by severe diarrhea and vomiting. The intensity of symptoms can lead to dehydration and muscle pains and cramps.

The infant mortality rate due to malaria falls a little over 300,000. Due to treatment and preventive methods, the mortality rate of malaria has dropped almost under 60 percent.

  • Meningitis

Like diarrhea, meningitis can also be caused by both bacterial or viral infections. The most common of both being the bacterial version. Meningitis occurs when the brain and spinal cord are affected by the infection. Meningitis is more deadly and can cause death instantly. Antibiotics and vaccines can be treated with meningitis but it still needs extra care. Regardless, of that many children still die due to meningitis.

The infant mortality rate is a little over 110,000. Six different strains of the bacteria can cause meningitis. The infection spreads as quickly as it kills.

  • HIV

HIV is one of those diseases that has no definite cure. HIV weakens the immune system immensely. The most common mode of transmission is through sexual contact, or contaminated syringes, or through bodily fluids. HIV is transmitted in the fetus through the mother who is an HIV carrier. The child born will automatically be HIV positive. It can also be transmitted during breastfeeding.

The infant mortality rate is under 100,000. Tuberculosis is associated with HIV as a complication which is the leading cause of death among people.

  • Measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection. The mode of transmission is air and direct contact. Measles appears as an itch less rash with small white spots. The first sign is of high fever. Vitamin A deficiency along with Measles is a deadly combination. It especially affects malnourished children. The symptoms can last up to 10 days. Fever can be as high as 104 Degree Fahrenheit.

The infant mortality rate is less than 75,000. More deaths occur from measles in underdeveloped countries. Vaccination programs have been developed for measles which has controlled the spread of the disease to large amounts.

Malnourished children in third world countries develop many diseases due to the lack of a well-balanced health infrastructure which leads to more deaths than births. Steps to overcome such situations are being taken by the UN.


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