Common Diseases in Nigeria 

Common Diseases in Nigeria 
Common Diseases in Nigeria

The following article is based on facts and findings from the World Health Organization (WHO) Nigeria, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Wikipedia, International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) office in Nigeria was established in 2001 and to achieve CDC-Nigeria’s vision of ‘Public Health Excellence for Healthy Nigerians’ the office supports the Nigerian federal and states Ministries of Health in the development, implementation and evaluation of disease response efforts and programs that contribute to strengthened public health infrastructure and service delivery models in Nigeria.

According to the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), the agenda builds upon existing programs and policies to improve health and spur progress toward full implementation of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Health Regulations 2005 (IHR).


Though Nigeria has not formally signed on the GHSA, the country agreed to meet its obligations under the IHR in 2005. CDC’s Division of Global Health Protection (DGHP) works with the government of Nigeria and other partners to achieve these requirements by focusing on workforce development, emergency response, surveillance, laboratory, and border health/point of entry interventions.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is focused on strengthening surveillance to find and respond to the virus, wherever it emerges, and closing immunity gaps to protect the population and to stop the virus from circulating.


Most common diseases in Nigeria

The following under-listed points are the most common diseases here in Nigeria.

. Malaria

. Diarrhea


. Tuberculosis (TB)

. Diabetes

. Neonatal Diseases

. Yellow Fever

. Pneumonia

. Polio

. Ebola

. Meningitis




Based on facts from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), malaria is one of the most deadly diseases we have in Nigeria especially among children. Malaria is a life-threatening diseases and it’s usually transmitted through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. When the mosquito bites you, the parasite is released into your bloodstream.

According to Oxford English Dictionary, Malaria is an intermittent and remittent fever caused by protozoan parasite which invades the red blood cells and is transmitted by mosquitoes in many tropical and subtropical regions.

Once the parasites are inside the body, they travel to the liver, where they mature. After several days, the mature parasites enter the blood stream and begin to infect the red blood cells.

Within forty-eight to seventy-two hours, the parasites inside the red blood cells multiply, causing the infected cells to burst open. The parasites continue to infect the red blood cells, resulting in symptoms that occur in cycles that last two to three days at a time.

The severity of Malaria differs based on the species of plasmodium and the symptoms are sensation of cold with shivering, fever, headaches, tiredness, vomiting and sweating which usually occur a few weeks after being bitten.


Treatment of Malaria

The treatment of Malaria aims to eliminate the Plasmodium parasite from the red blood cells. Those without symptoms may be treated for infection to reduce the risk of disease transmission.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) to treat uncomplicated malaria.

Medical practitioners often combine ACT with other drugs, which is aimed at reducing the number of parasites within the first 3 days of infection and the rest symptoms.


Prevention of Malaria

There are several ways to prevent malaria fever. Precautions which include air-conditioned room, avoid stagnant water area, wearing clothes that cover the body when mosquitoes are likely to be around and the use of treated mosquito nets especially for children and young adults.




Diarrhea which is also called Dysentry, comes in watery stools (bowel movements). The disease is mostly common with children. You have diarrhea if you have loose stools three or more times in a day which is a very common problem and usually lasts about one or two days or even longer.

There is the acute diarrhea which last for a short while and there is the chronic diarrhea which last for several weeks.


The most common causes of Diarrhea include;

. Bacteria from contaminated food or water

. Viruses such as flu, norovirus or rotavirus

. Parasites, which are tiny organisms found in contaminated food or water

. Drugs such as antibiotics, cancer drugs and antacids that contain magnesium

. Food sensitivities among others


Diarrhea comes with symptoms such as; cramps or pain in the stomach, an urgent need to use the bathroom or toilet and the loss of bowel control. If a virus or bacteria is the cause of your diarrhea, you may also have fever, chills, and bloody stools.



Yellow Fever

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Yellow Fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic transmitted by infected mosquitoes. The ‘yellow’ in the name refers to the jaundice that affects some patients. The virus is endemic in tropical areas of Africa which includes Nigeria.

Some patients who contact the virus develop severe symptoms and approximately half of them die within seven to ten days.

Symptoms of Yellow Fever include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.

Large epidemics of Yellow Fever occur when infected people introduce the virus into heavily populated areas with high mosquito density and where most people have little or no immunity, due to lack of vaccination.


Yellow Fever is prevented by an extremely effective vaccine, which is quite affordable. Just a single doze of the vaccine is enough to confer sustained immunity and long life protection against the disease.


The vaccine provides effective immunity within ten days for eighty to one hundred per cent of people vaccinated, and within thirty days for more than ninety-nine per cent of people who are vaccinated.

Good and early supportive treatment in clinics improves survival rates and there is currently no specific anti-viral medicine for Yellow Fever but associated bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics.


Yellow Fever can be prevented through Vaccination, Vector control, Epidemic preparedness and Response.


Note: Yellow Fever is very difficult to diagnose, especially during the early stages. A severe case of the fever can be confused with chronic malaria, leptospirosis, viral hepatitis and poisoning.




Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a chronic life-threatening condition caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). HIV interferes with your body’s ability to fight organisms that cause diseases by damaging your immune system.

HIV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It can also be spread by contact with infected blood or from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth or breast-feeding. Without medication, it may take years before HIV weakens your immune system to the point that you have AIDS.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as at present, there is no cure for HIV/AIDS, but there are other medications that can be used to slow the progression of the disease. These particular drugs have reduced AIDS deaths in many nations.


As of 2016 in Nigeria, the HIV prevalence rate among adults (15 – 49) was 3.17 per cent. Nigeria has the second largest number of people living with HIV. The HIV epidemic in Nigeria is so complex especially in some regions.

According to WHO, youth and young adults in Nigeria are particularly vulnerable to HIV, with young women at higher risk than the young men.


The symptoms of HIV/AIDS (acute), varies depending on the phase of the infection. Most people infected develop a flu-like illness within a month or two after the virus enters the body. Other symptoms include; Fever, Headache, Muscle aches, Joint pain, Rash, Sore throat, Painful mouth sores and Swollen lymph glands mainly on the neck.


As the virus continues to multiply and damage the immune cells, the carrier may develop chronic signs and symptoms such as; Fever, Fatigue, Swollen lymph nodes, Diarrhea, Weight loss, Oral yeast infection and Shingles.




Tuberculosis is an infectious disease which is usually caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) bacteria. The infectious disease generally affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body.

Tuberculosis is spread through the air when people who have active TB in their lungs cough, spit, speak or sneeze. An active infection occurs more often in people with HIV/AIDS and in those who smoke.


Nigeria is among the 14 high burden countries for Tuberculosis, TB/HIV and Multi Drug Resistant TB. Nigeria is ranked 7th among the thirty high TB burden countries and the second in Africa. The issue of TB in Nigeria has been made worse by the issues of drug resistant TB and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

According to CDC Global Health, it is estimated that over four hundred thousand people in Nigeria have TB each year which is also the estimated number of people living with HIV.




Diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose or blood sugar levels are too high. Glucose comes from the foods we eat. Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose to get into your cells to them enough energy.


In other words, Diabetes is a condition that impairs the body’s ability to process blood glucose, otherwise known as blood sugar.


Diabetes comes in three types, which are; type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. With the type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin while with the type 2 diabetes, the more common type, your body does not make use of insulin well. Without the insulin, the glucose stays in your blood.

The gestational diabetes occurs in women during pregnancy when the body can become less sensitive to insulin. It does not occur in all women and usually resolves after giving birth.


Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause serious problems. It can damage your eyes, kidneys and nerves. It can also cause heart disease, stroke and even the need to remove a limb.

Without careful management, diabetes can lead to a buildup of sugars in the blood, which can increase the risk of dangerous complications, including stroke and heart disease.


Nigeria is one of the 32 countries of the International Diabetes Foundation (IDF) African region. As at 2015, there were over a million cases of diabetes in Nigeria.




According to GPEI, Nigeria is one of the countries in the world with ongoing wild poliovirus transmission, alongside Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Polio or Poliomyelitis, is a crippling and potentially deadly infectious disease. It is caused by the poliovirus. The virus spreads from person to person and can invade an infected person’s brain and spinal cord, causing paralysis.

Most people who get infected with poliovirus (about 72 out of 100) will not have any visible symptoms.


Nigeria is classified by the International Health Regulations (IHR) as a state infected with WPV1, CVDPV1, or CVDPV3 with potential risk of international spread, and as a state infected with CVDPV2 with potential risk of international spread. It is therefore subject to temporary recommendations as of November 2018.


Following the detection of wild poliovirus in northern Nigeria in 2016 for the first time in two years, Nigeria and neighbouring countries have held multiple vaccination campaigns to raise population immunity and prevent spread of the virus.


A range of innovative strategies are being used to reach children in high-risk areas, including opportunistic campaigns that are run whenever security permits, market vaccination, cross-border points and outreach to nomads.


With the above facts and findings, now you know about the common and dangerous diseases in Nigeria.
















Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *