Despite it being an on-going concern, we rarely talk about the Ebola virus anymore. The World Health Organisation has recently outlined the ten biggest threats to humanity. Ebola and other high threat pathogens still made the list. Antivaxxers also featured. There were some none-virus related threats, but let’s be honest viruses/diseases play to our primal fears. So with that in mind here are some of the scariest and deadliest of all time.
Hepatitis is a group of viruses that primarily affect the liver. There are five different variations in total (A-E). In particularly types, B and C are a constant issue. They lead to more than a million deaths every year. They can be spread sexually or via blood, so drug users are particularly at risk from dirty needles.
Calling this a “super-bug” may not have the intended effect. Although that is effectively what it is. The reason it is so scary is that traditional medicine doesn’t fight it. There are now specialist antibiotics to fight MRSA but if it develops to be resistant to these too humanity could be in trouble. It doesn’t help that the bacteria spreads so readily.
How can you not be intimidated by a condition nicknamed “the black death”? The infectious disease ripped through Europe in the 14th century and although it is impossible to get exact figure it is estimated in more halved the population at the time. Responsible for hundreds of millions of deaths.
George Orwell, Eleanor Roosevelt, DH Laurence, that girl from Moulin Rouge… They all died from TB. The condition was given the nickname consumption due to the way it can consume the human body. It was mostly thought to have been eradicated but is rife in Asia and Russia. Treatable with antibiotics, the condition basically stops your lungs from working.
Although this is supposedly eradicated it is theorised that through modern genetics it could be recreated and weaponised. And what a great weapon it would make. The most deadly strains of the virus carry a 75% mortality rate and it kills within two weeks. Also, it looks scary! Especially the Haemorrhagic version.
Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers (like Ebola)
Speaking of Haemorrhagic conditions, none of them seem to carry the fear-factor that accompanies Ebola. Named after the river where it was first discovered the virus has taken on a cult status. Although not the most deadly virus, there have only been about 700 deaths to date, it still remains a top priority. The issue with the condition is we have no cure and if you get it you are probably going to die. The condition causes your immune system to attack your own body with something called a cytokine storm. The excessive bleeding this condition causes just add to its horrifying mystique. We should all count our lucky stars that it doesn’t spread easily, yet.
Measles should be in the same bracket with Smallpox. It had all but been eradicated. Unfortunately, due to the increase in suspicions over vaccines, it is on the rise once more. It is a scary looking virus with a trademark rash. With modern medicine, the condition is rarely fatal but historically has been attributed with close to 200 million deaths.
Although this isn’t as sensationalised as it was in the eighties it still takes a lot of lives. There is no cure for it and although modern medicine helps to manage the condition it isn’t always available. Especially in third world countries, where the virus is rife.
Perhaps the least exciting entry on the list but one of the most deadly. Flu can and does kill the elderly on a regular basis – although most of us have flu and live. Occasionally the world endures a particularly virulent strain, like Swine flu and avian flu and this can lead to a global pandemic.