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The world’s most dangerous viruses. The list includes, among others dengue, ebola, HIV and SARS-CoV-2, and influenza. Every year they take a tragic toll.

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Vaccines and antiviral drugs have helped contain the spread of many viral diseases. Others, such as smallpox, have been completely eradicated. But many viruses in recent decades have taken their death toll. HIV has killed an estimated 36 million people worldwide since the outbreak began in the early 1980s. Here is a list of the deadliest viruses of our time.

Viruses differ in their death rate. Coronavirus, which has already reached every continent, has a lower fatality rate than, for example, Ebola. Based on the likelihood of death in the event of an infection, the number of people who died, and the rising threat, we have compiled a list of the world’s most deadly viruses today.

Marburg

The deadly Marburg virusCDC

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) for the first time was identified in 1967when small outbreaks of an epidemic appeared among laboratory workers in Germany who had contact with infected monkeys transported from Uganda. The early symptoms of infection are diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Later the virus can cause hemorrhagic feverthat is, high fever with hemorrhages that lead to shock, organ failure and death.

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In Africa the virus strikes cyclically. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 83 percent of those infected died from it between 1998 and 2000. The virus has struck several times in Uganda and Guinea in recent years, causing 50 to 100 percent deaths. The infection occurs through droplets, direct and indirect contact. According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), out of 571 cases of Marburg disease recorded in the years 1967-2012, 470 ended in death. Work on a vaccine is ongoing.

Ebola

Ebola virus under the microscopeCDC

Ebola spreads through contact with blood or other body fluids or with tissue from infected humans or animals. The first known outbreaks of the disease appeared in Africa in 1976. The biggest epidemic started in 2014. Just The Democratic Republic of the Congo experienced 11 Ebola epidemics, the most in the world. Latest outbreak in North Kivu – second largest in history – claimed over 2.2 thousand victims.

The US Food and Drug Administration in December 2020 approved Ervebo – a vaccine that helps defend against the Ebola virus from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Rabies

Rabies virusShutterstock

The most common carriers of rabies are dogs. Infection with the virus appears after being bitten or scratched by an infected animal. Can cause damage to the brain and nerves. According to the UK National Health Service (NHS) the onset of symptoms is almost always fatal if the infected person is not treated.

Thanks to antibodies and vaccines for pets introduced in the 1920s, rabies has become a rare disease in our part of the world. Still, though remains a major threat in India and parts of Africawhere it produces annually tens of thousands of deaths. According to the WHO, more than 29 million people worldwide receive the rabies vaccine after being bitten each year.

HIV

HIV Particles are Green (CDC)

HIV Particles are Green (CDC)Shutterstock

It is considered to be one of the most dangerous modern viruses. It is estimated that since the disease was diagnosed in the early 1980s due to HIV approximately 36 million people died.

Powerful antiviral drugs have made it possible for people to live with HIV for many years. However, the disease continues to wreak havoc in many low- and middle-income countries where 95 percent of new virus infections occur. At the end of 2020, as many as 37.7 million people were living with HIV in the world. Most – 7.5 million – in South Africa.

Hantavirus

HantavirusShutterstock

Hantavirus is a pathogen spread by voles, that is, small rodents similar to mice. Although he stayed detected in 1993, according to scientists, the disease has already been described by the Navajo people – the largest ethnic group of North American Indians in the United States. The virus does not spread from person to person.

Hantavirus disease is mostly supposed flu-like symptoms: high fever, headaches, aches and pains, nausea and vomiting. But it can also affect the kidneys and lead to their acute failure. The disease is treated only symptomatically, there is no vaccine against it.

Flu

The flu virus attacks in Poland

Flu virus Shutterstock

As Live Science notes, during the typical flu season around the world as many as 650,000 people die every year. The most deadly flu pandemic, known as the Spanish flu, started in 1918 and fell ill with it up to 40 percent of the world’s population, killing approximately 50 million people. Less serious pandemics occurred in 1957 and 1968.

There are publicly available flu vaccines that are considered to be the most effective method of preventing the disease. Polish The Ministry of Health announced in Aprilthat it is preparing statutory changes that will enable flu vaccination to be carried out in pharmacies.

Dengue

Visualization of the dengue virus

Visualization of the dengue virusShutterstock

Dengue is the most common in the world mosquito-borne disease. It is caused by the dengue virus. The main symptoms of infection include high fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, and a characteristic rash. In the most severe cases, the disease leads to life-threatening hemorrhagic fever and shock.

It is found in tropical and subtropical climates all over the world, mainly in urban and suburban areas. Between 100 and 400 million people are infected with it every year. Although dengue fever has a lower death rate than some other viruses, in about 1 percent of cases the virus can cause an Ebola-like disease called dengue haemorrhagic fever, which the mortality rate is 20 percentif left untreated.

Rotavirus

RotavirusShutterstock

Rotaviruses are the most common cause of severe diarrhea in infants and young children around the world. Although children in developed countries rarely die from rotavirus infection, the disease is deadly in developing countries where rehydration treatments are not widely available.

As estimated by WHO, it is recorded every year around the world over 25 million outpatient visits and 2 million hospitalizations due to rotavirus infection. There are currently two vaccines available to protect children against rotavirus. Countries that introduced them saw a sharp decline in hospitalizations and deaths.

SARS virus

The virus probably first appeared in batsShutterstock

SARS is a syndrome of acute, severe respiratory failure. The virus that causes it it was first identified in 2003 in China. Also known as SARS-CoV, it probably first appeared in bats, then passed to mammals called civets, and infected humans.

The disease causes fever, chills and body aches and often turns into severe pneumonia in which the lungs are filled with pus. SARS has an estimated fatality rate of 9.6 percent. In the years 2002-2003 he killed about 800 people worldwide. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no new cases have been reported since the early 2000s.

SARS-CoV-2

SARS-CoV-2Shutterstock

SARS-CoV-2, like the SARS virus, belongs to the group of coronaviruses. Causes acute COVID-19 respiratory disease. Since it was first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, around the world Over 535 million infections and 6.3 million deaths have been confirmed. Since the COVID-19 vaccine was invented, nearly 12 billion vaccinations have been made.

According to WHO, most people infected with the virus experience mild to moderate respiratory disease. The elderly and people with diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases or cancer are particularly vulnerable to the severe course of the disease.

MERS

MERS virus National Institutes of Health

First described in 2012 MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) is similar to the SARS virus. It is most common in the Middle East and can cause fever, cough, and shortness of breath in infected people. Often it turns into severe pneumonia, a the death rate is estimated at around 35 percent.

According to the UK National Health Service there is no vaccine available preventing this disease. The best way to reduce the risk of infection is to wash your hands regularly, avoid contact with camels, and not eat products containing raw animal milk. Of the several thousand confirmed cases of infection, most were from Saudi Arabiathe country where the virus was detected.

WHO, Live Science, tvn24.pl

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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