8 Deadly Diseases in Nigeria That Should Really Scare You More Than Ebola

Ebola, the scariest and deadliest disease of 2014 has attracted a lot of attention in Nigeria and across the globe. However, there are lesser known diseases prevalent in Nigeria that are killing much more people than the much dreaded Ebola, most of which are among the most deadly diseases ever known to mankind. Keep reading as we explore which diseases you should really be more wary of because you will be surprised at what the deadliest diseases of all times in Nigeria are.

8. Perinatal Conditions

Perinatal conditions are events occurring around the time of childbirth. There is no doubt that childbirth can be a very magical moment mostly cherished between young parents and a newborn. However, out of over half a million pregnancy-related deaths worldwide, it may interest you to know that there are over 40,000 of those occurring in Nigeria and some sources including official data from National Population Commission (NPC) have suggested that over 140 people die every day from pregnancy-related conditions in Nigeria alone making Nigeria the second country with the highest maternal mortality rate (after India) and the highest in Africa. This is a substantial proportion when viewed from a global standpoint. It has been established that 70 percent of pregnancy-related deaths in Nigeria are as a result of 4 conditions: haemorrhage, sepsis, eclampsia and complications of abortion and can easily be prevented.

black pregnant woman
Deadliest Diseases

7. Cerebrovascular Disease/Accident (Stroke)

Cerebrovascular disease may sound too over decorated for a common medical condition commonly known as stroke which occurs when there is a loss of blood supply to a part of the brain which could either result from blockage or rupture of a blood vessel commonly known as Ischaemic or Haemorrhagic stroke respectively. If blood flow is interrupted, for longer than a few minutes, the brain cells begin to suffer from irreparable damage which could result in permanent damage.

Deadliest Diseases

6. Diarrhoeal Diseases

Diarrhoeal disease is a very common cause of death most especially in third world countries while it is the second most common cause of deaths in children less than 1-year-old worldwide. According to the latest WHO data deaths caused by diarrhoeal diseases in Nigeria reached 173,878 or 10.19% of total deaths and the age adjusted Death Rate is 101.48 per 100,000 of the population. This data ranks Nigeria as the 19th country in the world.

Diarrhoeal Diseases
Deadliest Diseases

5. Respiratory Tract Infection/Pneumonia

Respiratory tract infection including pneumonia constituted the second leading cause of death in Nigeria. There are two major types of lower respiratory infections: bronchitis and pneumonia. Some of the easily recognizable symptoms of these infections include a runny nose and sneezing, headache, and sore throat. Symptoms may include fever in more severe cases like pneumonia. In most developing countries, these diseases can easily be lethal unlike in developed nations.

Deadliest Diseases

Ebola by far has received the most media mention because of the most recent outbreak, however, the diseases mentioned on the next page are already prevalent in Nigeria and their rate of killing makes Ebola a child’s play

4. Measles

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease affecting up to 90% of people sharing a living space with an infected person. Across the globe, measles kills 22 people every hour or about 197,000 people every year; remaining a leading cause of death among children most especially the under fives.

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Despite the availability of vaccine, the spread of measles is fuelled by poverty, lack of access to medicine and lack of education though there has been a drastic fall in the cases of measles by up to 74% within the last 15 years, the disease stills claims thousands of lives in Nigeria.

Deadliest Diseases

3. Tuberculosis (TB)

Do you know that Tuberculosis; a disease caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis is more wide-spread than you think? The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that one-third of the world’s 7 billion population is currently infected with TB and that someone in the world is getting newly infected with TB every second that passes more of which happens again in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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However, the good news is that being infected does not mean that the disease is going to manifest as the individual would tend to become symptomatic of there is any other debilitating illness or condition that suppress the immunity like HIV/AIDS, malnutrition and some other chronic (long-standing diseases) like poorly managed diabetes. The bitter truth is that TB is next to HIV/AIDS when it comes to number of deaths caused. Back in 2012, there were around 1.3 million TB-related deaths worldwide most of which occur in Sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia and other developing countries.

Deadliest Diseases


HIV/AIDS was first reported in the 1980s and the fact remains that since then, AIDS has caused over 30 million deaths. This is more than the population of Gabon, Botswana, Gambia, Qatar, Jamaica, New Zealand, Ireland, Norway and Denmark put together. Though its mortality rate has reduced because of education and anti-viral medications used to combat it, it still kills millions of people year on year. According to UNAIDS, In 2012, there were 35.3 million people living with HIV and since the start of the epidemic, around 75 million [63 million–89 million] have become infected with HIV. In 2012, 1.6 million people died from AIDS-related causes worldwide; over 1 million deaths occur in Africa on a yearly bases and Nigeria recorded 239,700 deaths in the same year. This is far more than every single Ebola outbreak in history added together.

Deadliest Diseases

1. Malaria

And YES! the “ordinary Malaria you know is the ultimate killer of all times with millions of deaths in its portfolio. This mosquito transmitted disease causes symptoms that generally start off as a general feeling of un-wellness (malaise) and later progressing to fever and headache, which in severe cases can end up with coma or death.

Deadliest Diseases

Malaria is a major health problem mostly in Africa where thirty countries in Sub-Saharan Africa account for 90% of global malaria deaths. It is also important to note that Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, and Uganda account for nearly 50% of the global malaria deaths. It is estimated that up to 100 million cases of malaria resulting in over 300,000 deaths in Nigeria every year. 97% of Nigeria’s population are exposed to the risk of having malaria and the remaining 3% live in the on the malaria free highlands in Nigeria.


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