Special Report

Nations Fighting Outbreaks of Diseases Other Than COVID

Since the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus, dubbed COVID-19, a global pandemic about two years ago, the virus has swept through virtually every nation on Earth. Nearly 400 million people have been infected with COVID and about six million, according to data from Johns Hopkins Medicine. 

Even as we’ve dealt with the most catastrophic outbreak since the Spanish flu about a century ago, viruses that predate the coronavirus continue to plague our world. (These are the worst epidemics and pandemics in history.)

To determine what diseases are major health risks, 24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of nations battling outbreaks other than COVID, based on data from sources including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and various news outlets. (Read how COVID fatality rates compare with those of other diseases.)

The most devastating diseases still plaguing the world include dengue fever, polio, and Ebola. These scourges are prevalent in Africa and Asia, though every continent has experienced some level of outbreak recently. 

Dengue fever, a disease spread by mosquitoes, has been a health issue in 17 countries on our list, in Asia, Africa, and both North and South America. Polio, a crippling and potentially deadly disease caused by the poliovirus, was virtually eradicated in the United States by 1979 but remains a health concern in the developing world. 

The Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. The virus first spreads to people through contact with the blood, body fluids, and tissues of animals, then through contact with body fluids of those who are sick with or have died from the disease. Scientists do not know where it comes from. Congo has suffered through repeated outbreaks of the disease. 

Measles, a contagious virus spread by coughing or sneezing, is a serious health risk in 15 African nations on our list. Other diseases afflicting mostly the developing world are visceral leishmaniasis, monkeypox, and yellow fever.

Click here to learn about nations battling outbreaks other than COVID

The diseases mentioned for each country on this list are representative, and may pose the greatest health risks to residents and visitors alike, but are by no means the only illnesses that may be contracted in these places. Before planning travel to any country, whether on this list or not, it’s a good idea to consult the CDC’s Travelers’ Health pages for warnings and recommended precautions. 

Note also that this list of countries with serious disease outbreaks is not complete, and that many of the countries that are on the list remain at high risk for COVID-19 as well other diseases.

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