The Impact of 28 Devastating Infectious Diseases


The Impact of 28 Devastating Infectious Diseases :- Infectious diseases still exist today and have affected human history. Such contagious diseases are on many of our minds as the new coronavirus spreads over mainland China and other parts of the world. Here is a look at some of the worst of these epidemics, including the latest SARS, new coronavirus and Zika virus as well as Ebola and Dengue. 

  1. The new coronavirus :-
    The 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a fresh coronavirus strain that initially surfaced in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. In China, the virus has caused more than 40,000 illnesses and 900 deaths as of February 10, 2020. The huge virus family known as coronaviruses is responsible for many respiratory diseases. These viruses are those that cause MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).
  2. Smallpox  :-
    Smallpox causes skin lesions, which emerged about 3000 years ago in India or Egypt before sweeping across the globe. According to the World Health Organization, the Variola virus, which causes smallpox, left up to a third of those it infected dead, while also leaving other victims with scars and blindness.  In 1980, the WHO declared the disease officially eradicated after a decade-long vaccination campaign. Facilities in the US and Russia are holding the virus’s final samples.
  3. Plague :-
    There are three different types of the disease, but the most well-known is bubonic plague, which is distinguished by buboes, or painful enlarged lymph nodes. Plague can have a 50% to 60% fatality rate in people who are not treated, according to the WHO, even though the disease is treatable because of antibiotics introduced in the 1940s.
  4. Malaria :-
    Malaria has devastated parts of Africa, although it is curable and preventable, where the illness causes 20% of all childhood deaths, citing the World Health Organization. A parasite carried by blood-sucking mosquitoes causes the disease, which is initially characterized by chills, fever and flu-like symptoms before progressing to more serious complications.
  5. Influenza :-
    According to the World Health Organization, Flu, a seasonal respiratory infection is responsible for about 3 million to 5 million cases of severe illness and about 2,50,000 to 5,00,000 deaths per year across the globe. Some influenza viruses can cross species boundaries, as the recent swine flu and bird flu concerns showed.
  6. Tuberculosis :-
    Potentially fatal TB or Tuberculosis is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis which usually causes the signature bloody coughs and attacks the lungs. Up to one-third of the world’s population currently harbors the bacterium without exhibiting symptoms, and it does not always make those it infects sick. Additionally, 5% to 10% of those with TB infection (but not HIV) will get sick or spread an infection at some point in their lifespan.
  7. HIV/AIDS :-
    HIV is a relatively new disease, in contrast to many of the worst offenders on this list, which have a lengthy history with humans. It was discovered in 1981 that specific immune system cells are decimated by HIV. HIV makes its victims more vulnerable to a wide range of opportunistic illnesses by weakening a portion of the immune system.
  8. Cholera :-
    Acute diarrhea from cholera can be dangerous if not treated in a matter of hours. People contract the disease by consuming foods or beverages that carry the Vibrio cholerae bacterium. Through infected feces, the bacteria frequently contaminate food and water. Since it can take 12 hours to 5 days to show symptoms, People’s excrement can unintentionally transmit the disease.
  9. Rabies :-
    The initial symptoms of rabies can be hard to detect in humans, as they mimic the flu including fever, discomfort and general weakness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when the disease progresses, patients may experience abnormal behavior, delirium, insomnia and hallucinations.
  10. Pneumonia :-
    Pneumonia may not be as terrifying as illnesses like rabies or smallpox, but it can still be fatal, especially for anyone under the age of 5 or over 65. Inflammation of the air sacs in one or both lungs is a symptom of the illness of pneumonia. The air sacs may swell with fluid or pus (purulent material), which can cause breathing difficulties, a fever, chills, and a cough that produces pus or phlegm. The disease can be caused by a virus, bacteria or a combination of both. According to Dr. Sheetu Singh, a person can get pneumonia from a parasite, fungal infection or reactions to certain medicines.
  11. Infectious Diarrhea :-
    The virus causes dehydration brought upon by severe vomiting and watery diarrhea. According to WHO, four Rotavirus vaccines are considered highly effective at preventing the disease. A potentially deadly diarrheal illness, rotavirus is the most frequent cause of viral gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines).
  12. Ebola :-
    A healthy individual can get the Ebola virus by coming into contact with an infected person’s blood or secretions or by handling objects (such as clothing or bedding) that have been exposed to these fluids. The virus is passed from one person to another by bodily fluids. The virus spreads very rapidly, overcoming the body’s immune response and causing muscle pain, fever, weakness, headaches, diarrhea, abdominal pain and vomiting.
  13. Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease :-
    Humans can get VCJD when they eat beef from cows with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), a disease similar to VCJD that occurs in cattle. About 225 cases of vCJD were recorded in the UK and numerous other nations between 1996 and March 2011. According to WHO, individuals infected with VCJD tend to be younger than those infected with CJD.
  14. Marburg :-
    The filamentous forms of the viral particles are the defining hallmark of the Filovirus family of viruses, which includes the Marburg virus. The Marburg virus disease (MVD), is spread from one person to another through bodily fluids much like Ebola. The Marburg virus can infect monkeys just like it does human beings.
  15. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) :-
    The Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, a viral respiratory disease that was initially discovered in 2012 in Saudi Arabia, turns out to be another lethal disease that is spread by bats, in addition to diseases like Ebola and Marburg. According to the WHO, MERs originated in bats, its major reservoir in the Middle East is likely dromedary camels.
  16. Dengue :-
    According to the WHO and the CDC, mosquito-borne viruses of which dengue is one of many kill an estimated 50,000 people worldwide every year. Dengue is a disease that can be caused by one of four related viruses such as DENV 1, DENV 2, DENV 3 and DENV 4. Sometimes the virus causes severe dengue or dengue hemorrhagic fever, a potentially fatal consequence with symptoms including fever, stomach pain, vomiting, blood and problems breathing.
  17. Yellow Fever :-
    Similar to dengue, yellow fever is a flavivirus and is transmitted from one person to another by mosquitoes. Jaundice or a yellowing of the skin and eyes, is a sign of the illness that is observed by a tiny number of those who are affected. According to the WHO, half of the patients who enter the toxic phase of yellow fever die within 7 to 10 days.
  18. Hantaviruses :-
    Hantaviruses are spread to humans by rodents, particularly from rats and mice. People who come into contact with these animal’s bodily secretions directly or who breathe in virus-carrying aerosolized particles from those secretions may contract a hantavirus. Fever, vomiting, and dizziness are among the first signs of this illness, which is similar to HPS in that it can also result in kidney failure and bleeding.
  19. Anthrax :-
    Anthrax is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Bacillus Anthracis, It inhabits soil and typically infects domestic and wild animals, including goats, cattle, and sheep. The disease typically infects people when they come into contact with infected animals or animal products.
  20. MRSA “Superbug” :-
    Shortened form of methicillin-resistant The staph bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, also known as MRSA, is capable of inflicting potentially fatal skin and bloodstream infections and is resistant to the majority of antibiotics used to treat these infections.
  21. Pertussis :-
    The respiratory tract infection pertussis, widely known as whooping cough, is brought on by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. Pertussis is dangerous for babies, who can experience apnea or pauses in breathing. 87% of people who died from whooping cough between 2000 and 2012 were babies less than 3 months old.
  22. Tetanus :-
    Tetanus, an infection brought on by the bacteria Clostridium tetani, can be prevented by receiving the Tdap vaccine, which protects against pertussis. Tetanus-causing bacteria exist on the intestines of humans and animals as well as in dirt or soil (as well as objects left lying around in the dirt, like rusty nails) which they enter through the skin.
  23. Meningitis :-
    Meningitis is the medical term for inflammation of the membranes that envelop the brain and spinal cord, or meninges. Fungi, viruses, and bacteria are just a few of the possible causes of this contagious illness. Some people get meningitis after having brain surgery, suffering a head injury or having certain kinds of cancer.
  24. Syphilis :-
    The sexually transmitted disease syphilis is relatively treatable, but if left untreated it can have devastating side effects. An individual’s genitalia or anus may develop sores in the early stages of the illness. Many people just ignore these sores or mistake them for ingrown hairs or blemishes as they are often small, painless and they heal on their own. The second phase of the disease is more noticeable and usually begins with a rash on one more part of the body.
  25. SARS :-
    The virus responsible for the pandemics in 2002 and 2003 that killed more than 750 people globally is known as SARS. SARS is spread to people by bats much like the Marburg virus, Ebola viruses and MERS. According to the National Institutes of Health, the SARS virus likely originated in horseshoe bats in China.
  26. Leprosy :-
    Leprosy is an infectious, chronic illness brought on by the Mycobacterium leprae bacteria. Leprosy, often known as Hansen’s illness after the Norwegian physician who discovered the causative microbe, has an impact on the eyes, upper respiratory system, peripheral nerves and skin.
  27. Measles :-
    Measles, commonly known as rubeola, is one of the most contagious viral diseases that results in a recognizable red skin rash. There are additional signs of this viral illness that resemble cold symptoms.
  28. Zika :-
    The Zika virus is a flavivirus spread by mosquitoes of the Aedes genus and was first discovered in Africa in 1947. For the majority of adults, Zika virus sickness is not extremely harmful, but it can have serious consequences for pregnancy and babies. Those who do get sick could have conjunctivitis (pink eye), rash, fever and joint discomfort, but these symptoms are often minor and only last a few days.

Dr. Sheetu Singh, a nationally renowned pulmonologist, Director ILD & Pulmonary Rehab Clinic, is an expert in chest-related conditions. She got her training from SMS Medical College, Jaipur followed by a visit to Cleveland Clinic, USA.

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