The practice of tropical medicine came from the requirements of the 18th century when infectious condition like typhoid were frequent in all nations and diseases related with tropical climates posed distinctive difficulties. Tropical Medicine primarily deals with infectious disease caused by parasites in tropical region, although other infections and conditions associated to poverty instead of climate dominate treatment in developing nations constrained by population pressure, civil disorder, and immigration. In the 21st century, tropical medicine is accepted as a specialty of infectious diseases, which includes illness caused by parasites, travel and immigrant medicine, and sexually transmitted diseases etc. Addressing infectious diseases, which wipe out millions of people yearly, is one of the biggest obstacles of the 21st century. Tropical Medicine and Global Health is searching for remedies to the progressively critical issues developed by infectious diseases.
In the colonial era tropical medicine was significantly concerned with the political and social implication of the vast empire which crossed multiple geographic boundaries deep into the tropics and sub-tropics. European people, particularly soldiers, public servants and public representatives, had to shift to the tropics, where the chances of a deadly disease were a serious risk. At the same time indigenous individuals were subject to the same illnesses, so that the major source of labour used in European agriculture, like as sugar cane in the West Indies, was in danger. Thus the purpose for the existence of tropical medicine as a discipline was the safety of European representatives and the ill treatment of indigenous labour.
We can also look at tropical medicine from a cultural viewpoint, as a discussion that built the space of the tropics as other and therefore as racially pathological. Connected essentially to these ideas about climate was the development of European and local bodies. Mark Harrison has cautioned towards reading late 19th and early 20th century racial science into the medicine of the 2nd half of the 18th century, as earlier periods mainly eschewed a perception in innate biological characteristics in favour of a more fluid notion of human body and environment. Yet at the same time one has to remember the primarily continuous issue with the impact of climate on the character of people and the centrality of especially hot and humid environments in European notions of illness throughout these times.
This perspective of the significance of environment in health and national and racial characteristics was very well bound up with concepts of disease in the 18th and 19th centuries. Along with miasmatic concept, where disease-resulting in airs emanated from swamps and rotting vegetable matter, the concept that health was strongly connected to the balance of liquids in the body, which were consequently easily impacted by temperature, was widespread in medical thought. In this view the features of the bodies and minds of different individuals all over the world were formed by the climates in which they developed, with the outcome that movement among these climates disrupted the balance of liquids in the body, resulting in illness. Thus the world of the tropics was designed in the literature of the later 18th and 19th centuries as alien to Europeans. The tropics made Europeans sick and tired and made its local people tired and psychologically less healthy than European people born of cold and bracing environments.
In theory, the bacteriological and parasitological germ concepts that were made in the later decades of the 19th century and lead to the development of the micro-organisms that triggered malaria, cholera, yellow fever and a number of other illnesses connected to the tropics could have de-emphasized this sense of radical distinction. However, as many cultural experts of tropical medicine have observed, tropical medicine experts continued well into the 20th millennium to conduct activities important to the maintenance of white racial health within the pressure of the sun and moisture.