Tropical diseases: definition, geographic distribution, transmission, and classification

Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2012 Jun;26(2):195-205. doi: 10.1016/j.idc.2012.02.007. Epub 2012 Apr 24.


The term tropical diseases encompasses all diseases that occur principally in the tropics. This term covers all communicable and noncommunicable diseases, genetic disorders, and disease caused by nutritional deficiencies or environmental conditions (such as heat, humidity, and altitude) that are encountered in areas that lie between, and alongside, the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn belts. In tropical countries, apart from noncommunicable diseases, a severe burden of disease is caused by an array of different microorganisms, parasites, land and sea animals, and arthropods.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Communicable Diseases* / classification
  • Communicable Diseases* / microbiology
  • Communicable Diseases* / parasitology
  • Communicable Diseases* / transmission
  • Humans
  • Topography, Medical
  • Tropical Climate*