It is almost like there is a race between whether humans will outlive viruses or vice versa
Just when we get excited by the discovery of a new vaccine or drug, new viruses appears, or a new strain that is resistant to all currently developed medications. We recall in our minds the history of epidemics, and it gives us a reason to feel fear – for thousands of years there have been instances where populations have been wiped out by contagious diseases.
The infamous plague referred to as the “Black Death” which occurred during the 1340s immediately springs to mind, – it killed approximately 25 million people. It also seems as though every year or so, another threat of a virus with a black death killing ferocity will consume another population.
There is a media frenzy, everyone is in a panic, and scientists rush to throw funding and resources into finding a cure. It seems as though there is a race on earth between who will outlive the other – viruses or humans. We fear wild large animal attacks, but it is the microscopic life forms that are more likely to kill us. We have listed some of the deadliest viruses that you could potentially contract, below.
Catching the “flu” each year seems to be almost a tradition in the modern world – and in the majority of cases we are healthy enough to withstand the experience, and our body fights it off. Unfortunately,
the very young and elderly are at risk of not coping so well with this virus, and frequent issuing of updated vaccines attempt to give a boost to their immunity. But any deaths from influenza are generally from this particular population base, so there are still around 500,000 yearly deaths from influenza.
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Worse, certain strains of the influenza virus have created epidemics. The “Spanish Flu” of 1918 is claimed to have taken around 100 million lives – 20% of people infected died. Another flu that medical experts are trying to gain control over is the H5N1 bird flu – and although it is not yet able to be spread via other people, it has proved fatal for 60% of the 600 individuals who have managed to contract it.
It was only announced at the beginning of this year, 2017, that a new vaccine for Ebola has finally trialled successfully. It had been a race against time to find a vaccine for Ebola. Sadly, during the most recent outbreak, it killed 11000 people. As a result, it created a global panic.
This virus causes a viral hemorrhagic fever. It starts with flu-like symptoms and then develops into a rash, diarrhea, and vomiting. People start to bleed externally and internally, and the liver and kidneys stop functioning correctly.
It spreads through bodily fluids and humans can catch it from an animal. Luckily it is not airborne. Half of the people that contract it don’t survive.
Thankfully there haven’t been epidemic levels of deaths from this virus, but 1377 people have died from “Marburg Virus, “ and there is no known cure. To make it worse, 90% of the people who contract it will die.
It creates a viral hemorrhagic fever and leads to organ failure and internal bleeding. Lab workers first contracted it from Serbia and Germany. They had been working with African green monkeys that were carrying the virus.
More recently, an American tourist caught “Marburg Virus” from fruit bats in Uganda in 2008 – but he was lucky enough to be one of the rare survivors.
This virus HIV has received a lot of notoriety. It caused an eruption in mass population panic and paranoia during the 80s. Only recently have treatments been developed to make it manageable so that people can expect to live for a reasonable life span.
“HIV” virus attacks the immune system causing it to become compromised. It evolves eventually into AIDS, and the person finds it impossible to fight even simple sicknesses.
Death usually results from contracting pneumonia or tuberculosis. Currently, Antiretroviral drugs are readily available in the west. However, in sub-Saharan Africa, at least 40 million people have “HIV”. Depressingly, half of these people have no access to life-saving medications. Subsequently, this means that “HIV” still kills an epidemic level of 2 million people per year. Altogether, over 25 million people have died from the virus in the past 30 years.
“Rabies” has been around for millennia; the Babylonians described the suffering it created; even the name “Rabies” comes from the Greek goddess of rage, frenzy, and madness, “Lyssa.”
Usually, rabies is contracted after coming into contact with a rabid animal. However, the extreme symptoms will not emerge until after they have incubated. Frighteningly, this can take up to 3 months in some cases. As soon as it is suspected that a rabid animal has attacked someone, there are a series of hefty vaccines that they can receive. Fortunately, this does cure them.
If they have not sought help within ten days of an animal bite, as soon as the neurological symptoms develop, death is pretty much 100% guaranteed. The person will appear zombie-like, seem to be hallucinating, be paranoid, terrified, agitated and confused.
The throat muscles go into spasm, so they grow angry when offered water. In countries with less access to medical help, contracting “Rabies” is more frequent. Sadly, worldwide 60,000 people will die from the virus.