The Highest Disease Rates By Country

Japan – Cancer The Land of the Rising Sun has high cancer rates because of lifestyle factors. Many people mistakenly think that everybody in Japan lives… Darren Ryding - March 6, 2024

Many diseases that wreaked havoc across the world don’t impact our societies today. However, some countries still battle with serious conditions that have profound impacts on their nations. Today we’ll look at the most common disease by country and see what challenges different places face.

We’ll also check out the diseases that disproportionally impact some places more than others. For example, it’s shocking to learn that ultra-developed Finland has the highest rates of Alzheimer’s Disease in the world. Check out the most common disease by country now.


USA – Heart Disease

It won’t shock anybody to learn that this is the most common disease in the U.S. This is the leading cause of death with over 700,000 per year. Meanwhile, an estimated 30 million Americans have a heart disease diagnosis. That’s almost 10 percent of the entire population.

Lifestyle choices are the main causes of heart disease in North America. Eating too many fatty and processed foods increases the chances of experiencing coronary health issues. Alcohol and drug abuse also make it more likely that people will suffer from heart disease (via the American Heart Association).

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China – Cerebrovascular Disease

The Middle Kingdom has the highest rate of strokes in the world. China developed rapidly over the past couple of decades which presents new challenges. Experts say that the main triggers of cerebrovascular disease in China are smoking and hypertension.

Chinese natives in the 45 to 74 category have a higher percentage of strokes than their U.S. equivalents. It’s a wild fact that shows that there are challenges around the world. There are also differing statistics across the nation with stark differences between urban and rural dwellers (via AAN).

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Doctors Without Borders

Nigeria – Malaria

The WHO estimated that there were an incredible 68 million malaria cases in Nigeria in 2021. They also believed that almost 200,000 people passed away because of the disease. The West African nation has the highest malaria burden in the entire world.

Unfortunately, the environment is perfect for mosquitos because of the temperature and poor environmental management. Furthermore, Africa’s most populated country makes it easy to transmit malaria between people. Malaria is a crippling issue for the Nigerian people. (via The Conversation)

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Hungary Today

Hungary – Lung Cancer

It may surprise people to learn that Hungary has the highest rate of lung cancer in the world. It’s the most common disease in the Eastern-European nation but there’s a simple reason why. Hungary has a massive number of smokers and this leads to more lung-related diseases.

Drinking and lack of exercise are other factors that increase the risk of lung cancer in Hungary. Another issue is that patients often receive their diagnosis too late so this increases the mortality rates. Hungary has a long way to go before it solves its lung cancer problem (via Budapest Business Journal).


Haiti – Rabies

India has the highest rate of rabies deaths in the world but Haiti has the most in the Western Hemisphere. An estimated 17 people die from the condition every year in the Central American nation. Unfortunately, it’s a common disease across the country because of many stray dogs.

Rabies is almost always fatal when victims show clinical signs. Their bodies will reject water and they may begin hallucinating. Haiti is a developing country with many health problems including cholera and typhoid fever. Limited access to clean drinking water spreads these viruses (via Project Hope).

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The Borgen Project

Morocco – Typhoid Fever

Typhoid fever is a common disease in Morocco and a serious problem in North Africa. The annual incidence is about twice as high as in Europe with 0.7 per 100,000 people. Contaminated water and food are the main reasons why typhoid fever is endemic in Morocco.

Sanitation and access to clean drinking water may be limited in rural communities as well as poorer urban areas. Morocco has a developing economy but there is a severe social disparity. Typhoid sufferers have high fevers and will suffer from diarrhea (via NHS Scotland).

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Cystic Fibrosis Ireland

Ireland – Cystic Fibrosis

Heart disease is one of the biggest issues in Ireland like other developed nations. However, the small European country has unusually high rates of cystic fibrosis. It has the highest incidence in the world with one in 19 people carrying the altered gene that triggers it.

This makes it a relatively common disease across the Emerald Isle with about 1,400 cases overall. CF is a multi-organ disease that affects the digestive system and lungs. The body produces unusually thick mucus that can lead to lethal infections and prevent the easy digestion of food (via CF Ireland).

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Japan – Cancer

The Land of the Rising Sun has high cancer rates because of lifestyle factors. Many people mistakenly think that everybody in Japan lives to be 100 years old because everybody eats raw fish. The reality is that cancer has been the leading cause of death since 1981 and the most common disease.

55 percent of cancer cases amongst men occur because of lifestyle choices. Heavy drinking and excessive smoking trigger lung and liver conditions amongst others. Cancer makes up a quarter of deaths across the nation so the government is urgently trying to reduce numbers (via Nippon).

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Australia – Mental And Behavioral Conditions

According to the Australian government, one in five people has mental health or behavioral conditions. That’s a total of about 4.8 million Australians. Substance abuse, depression, and anxiety are the three biggest factors causing these health problems .

Meanwhile, issues differ from state to state. Stress is higher in Queensland because there are denser urban communities. However, substance abuse and depression are higher in isolated Tasmania. The latter is arguably the most common disease Down Under. (via ABS)

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The Regenerative Clinic

UK – Lower Back Disorder

This is one of the most common problems in the United Kingdom and affects one in six adults. Reportedly, lumbago accounts for 11 percent of the nation’s total disability. It also causes many uncomfortable symptoms like sleep deprivation and decreased mobility.

Different levels of lower back disorders affect the overall quality of people’s lives. According to the NHS, it also carries an immense financial burden. Their figures reveal that it costs them about five billion pounds per year to cope with the condition (via Blackberry Clinic).

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Middle East Eye

Jordan – Diabetes

There is a diabetes epidemic sweeping across the Arab world for several reasons. 15 percent of Jordanians suffer from diabetes. This is about twice as high as the global average and shows that the nation has a serious problem. High rates of smoking, lack of exercise, and obesity are contributing factors.

Arab populations also have a genetic predisposition for diabetes so this increases the risk. Studies estimate that up to one-fifth of the population will have diabetes by 2050 unless the government intervenes. It’s arguably the most common disease in Jordan but one that can be reduced (via Weill Cornell).

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Guatemala – Zika virus

Mosquitoes spread the Zika virus in Guatemala through their bites. There have been thousands of cases in the Central American nation over the past decade. It’s very difficult to detect because most patients don’t show symptoms. However, it can be very dangerous, especially for pregnant women.

Zika virus may cause birth defects so pregnant women must avoid affected areas. Guatemala’s lack of developed health infrastructure makes it very challenging to deal with outbreaks. However, Zika is a problem across Central and South America (via Vox).


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State Department

Eswatini – HIV

This tiny African nation has the unwanted reputation of having the highest HIV rates on the planet. About 27 percent of the population is living with the autoimmune condition. Twice as many women have the disease as men with 60 percent of them being sex workers.

However, it’s not all bad news because Eswatini is doing something about it. They became the first country to meet the UN’s HIV reduction targets. It continues to face an immense battle because of cultural and social issues but it continues to fight for change (via Tomorrow City).

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World Vision

Rwanda – Bacterial Diarrhoea

Chronic diarrhea is the biggest child killer in Rwanda now. Dirty water and dehydration are two of the main factors that cause this condition to develop. It’s the most common disease among under-fives in the African country and a huge problem across the continent.

Charitable organizations and government programs work to combat this endemic issue. Rotavirus and shigella bacteria are widespread in Rwanda. It’s difficult to eliminate them but hopefully, shortly, they will make big developments (via Travel Doctor Network).

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Mountain Aire Dentistry

Canada – Periodontal Disease

That’s right, gum disease is the most common disease in Canada right now. Up to 65 percent of Canadians have seen blood in the sink after brushing their teeth. Gum disease has two common causes. The first is that people don’t brush their teeth enough and have a poor diet.

But the second is when they overbrush their teeth. This happens very commonly when people brush too hard or too often. The most obvious sign of gum disease is bloody spittle while brushing. Eventually, the teeth may fall out and other health complications may develop (via Canadian Dental Association).

State Magazine

Micronesia – Hansen Disease

Most people know Hansen’s Disease by its older name: Leprosy. Micronesia has a higher rate of this condition than the rest of the world. Furthermore, most Hansen Disease cases in the U.S. emerge from Micronesian migrants. These tiny Pacific islands have 11 cases per 10,000 people.

The symptoms of leprosy include discolored skin, ulcers, and nodules. Luckily, this isn’t the Middle Ages anymore so it is very treatable and doctors can cure it. Furthermore, it is not very contagious. Prolonged close contact spreads the disease but simply shaking hands won’t do it (via Better Health Channel).

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Borgen Magazine

Côte d’Ivoire – HIV

This West African nation has the highest rate of HIV in the region. Over four percent of women have the condition compared to two percent of men. Prostitution is one of the main reasons why it disproportionally affects women. The activity is legal in Côte d’Ivoire and is an HIV spreader.

Furthermore, traffickers exploit vulnerable Ghanaian women and lure them to the Ivorian capital, Abidjan. They often engage in intercourse without protection and this increases the risks. Côte d’Ivoire has a long way to go before it reduces its HIV woes (via Taylor Francis).

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Peoples Dispatch

Brazil – Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is the most prevalent chronic disease in Brazil because of the nation’s dependency on manual labor. Workers spend long hours bent over in fields and this increases the risk of lower back pain. That’s why it’s the most common disease in South America’s biggest country.

Many factors influence chronic back pain in Brazil. Physical activity is one but also education levels and smoking are two big contributors. The former is an issue because a lower education makes it more likely that they’ll engage in backbreaking work for a living (via Biomed Central).

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Vietnam – Chikungunya

Here’s another mosquito-borne infection that is spreading rapidly across the world. It’s a common disease in Vietnam because the humid climate is perfect for these insects to breed. Monkeys are also known carriers of chikungunya. Fever and muscle pains are the most common Chikungunya symptoms.

Some people are asymptomatic and the condition is rarely fatal. However, older people and those with underlying conditions are more vulnerable to Chikungunya. Often doctors mistake it for dengue fever or Zika virus but it is a distinct illness (via Travel Doctor).

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National Geographic

Mexico – Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is a serious issue for Mexican authorities because it can strike anytime. However, the most dangerous months are between June and October. Yucatan and Veracruz states experience the most dengue fever cases every year because of their climates.

In 2023, dengue cases rose by a remarkable 300 percent. Nausea, vomiting, and rashes are some of the early symptoms of dengue. It’s a notoriously uncomfortable illness that also causes muscle and joint pain. Usually, people get better after a couple of horrible weeks. (via Family Medical Practice)

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The Mail & Guardian

South Africa – Tuberculosis

TB is a serious problem for South Africans because most people can’t afford the treatments. They also suffer a loss of earnings when recovering from the condition so they won’t bother. 468 per 100,000 people suffer from tuberculosis but this also has a serious impact on another common disease.

South Africa has the world’s biggest HIV treatment program. However, the majority of TB-related deaths occur in HIV-infected people. TB is curable in 90 percent of cases. Unfortunately, the survival rate is only 70 percent in South Africa because of external factors (via Nature).

Times of India

India – COPD

Respiratory diseases indiscriminately impact India’s massive population. They affect almost 63 million people or 32 percent of the world’s COPD-affected population. Many people don’t understand this disease or spot the warning signs that suggest it has taken hold.

Pollution is the dominant cause of COPD in India and it disproportionately affects men. Urban centers have huge male populations because traditionally they go to work while women stay at home. Smoke and dust pollution are silent killers that many Indians don’t recognize. (via India Times)

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Visit Finland

Finland – Alzheimer’s Disease

Many people point to this Nordic country as one of the biggest social successes on the planet. They rightfully acknowledge its amazing education and health systems. However, Finland surprisingly has the world’s highest percentage of Alzheimer’s Disease per capita.

Environmental factors make it more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than in other countries. Neurotoxins develop in humid conditions in Finnish houses during cold winters. They also flourish in Finland’s many lakes as well as the soil. More people die from Alzheimer’s in Finland than anywhere else (via NCBI).

Stony Brook University

Iran – Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever

This horrible condition emerged at the turn of the millennium. It is a common disease in Iran where 30 percent of sufferers pass away. Usually, slaughterhouses and agricultural workers contract this illness because of their close exposure to animals.

Infected animal blood is the main source of this disease but tick bites will spread it too. Patients suffer hemorrhaging in their stool, urine, and gum. There are cases of Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever in countries like Spain and Italy but far fewer than in Iran (via Borgen Project).

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North Korea – Viral Hepatitis

Everybody knows that North Korea is one of the world’s most secretive countries. That’s why it’s very difficult to find accurate data on the nation’s health issues. However, Hepatitis B is rampant across the isolated peninsula and affects about 15 percent of their 25 million people.

Unfortunately, global sanctions prevent the availability of viral antibiotics. Usually, sufferers take herbal remedies that don’t work effectively. Charities are attempting to help North Korean women because this reduces the risk of them spreading it to their children (via Science Direct).