Viruses have been the enemy of mankind since the beginning of time. They have caused illnesses and diseases everywhere. Fortunately, we now have more scientists and health experts working side by side to combat viruses by coming up with vaccinations and treatments.
Here are 10 of the world’s most dangerous viruses that has infected many countries and claimed countless lives.
Marburg Virus Disease (MVD)
First discovered in 1967, the Marburg virus caused outbreaks in laboratories located in Marburg, and Frankfurt, Germany as well as in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (Serbia). 31 individuals caught the disease and 7 of the patients eventually died. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, the lab workers first acquired the virus, which causes hemorrhagic fever, while doing a research as they were exposed to African green monkeys.
Marburg virus also caused an outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 1998 to 2000 and in Angola in 2005.
Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)
Zaure ebolavirus, or simply Ebola, is a rare but fatal disease that causes body pains, diarrhea, and fever. In 1976, two simultaneous outbreaks occurred in Nzada, Sudan and in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. According to WHO, EVD has an average fatality rate of about 50%, although past fatalities have ranged from 25% to 90%.
Another deadly virus, rabies is transmitted to humans through the animal saliva. Bats, coytes, dogs, foxes, and raccoons are some of the animals that carry rabies so it is recommended that people immediately seek treatment in case they get bitten.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
As its name implies, HIV targets a person’s immune system and increases the dangers of other diseases and infections. The virus, which is either acquired by unprotected sex with or by sharing drug needles with an infected person, remains to be “the one that is the biggest killer,” according to Dr Amesh Adalja, spokesperson of Infectious Disease Society of America.
HIV still does not have a cure, although medical advancements have made it possible to control it and help people live longer.
To this day, the origins of smallpox remains a mystery. The contagious disease spread across the world, causing fever, skin rash, and even blindness to those infected. While many recovered, statistics tell us 3 out of 10 people with smallpox died of the disease.
In May 8, 1980, the World Health Assembly has declared that the disease has been eradicated and the world is officially free of smallpox.
Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)
The world was shocked in 1993 when a man from Navajo in the United States died with his fiancee just several days after they complained about experiencing shortness of breath.
“Even healthy individuals are at risk for HPS infection if exposed to the virus,” said CDC. Hantavirus is transmitted via exposure to droppings of infected rodents.
In 1918, the world faced the deadliest Spanish flu pandemic. The viral disease infected about 500 million people and claimed around 20 to 50 million lives.
“Citizens were ordered to wear masks, schools, theaters and businesses were shuttered,” wrote History.com, “and bodies piled up in makeshift morgues before the virus ended its deadly global march.”
Transmitted to humans by the bites of infected mosquitoes, dengue was first detected in Thailand and the Philippines back in the 1950s. Every year, 50 to 100 million people get sick with dengue and could lead to death if a patient fails to seek immediate medical treatment.
Babies and young children are at most risk of rotavirus, although there are also instances when older children and adults may get ill. Symptoms include having black stools, dehydration, high fever, and vomiting, among others.
In 2008, 453,000 children below the age of 5 died across the world because of the virus. Medical experts encourage parents to have their children vaccinated to prevent catching the disease.
Originating from Wuhan in December 2019, coronavirus (COVID-19) has rapidly spread not only in the entire country of China but also in many other countries across the world, prompting WHO to declare it first as a global health emergency and then as a pandemic.
As of this writing, the viral disease has already infected 145,995 and has already claimed 5,436 lives.
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