10 Deadliest Diseases in Human History

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As violent as the human race can be towards one another, throughout history, the biggest executioner of the human race has always been deadly diseases. These are the 10 deadliest diseases in human history.

10 Deadliest Diseases in Human History

10. Influenza A-H1N1 (Swine Flu)

Although it has been declared by the WHO as officially over, swine flu was yet another deadly and contagious strain the influenza virus.

Although swine flu doesn’t typically affect humans, there was a global outbreak (pandemic) in 2009–2010, the first flu pandemic in more than 40 years.

It was first detected in April 2009 in a 10-year-old girl in California. It was declared a global pandemic in June 2009 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and was finally over in August 2010.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that swine flu infected nearly 61 million people in the United States and caused 12,469 deaths. Worldwide, up to 575,400 people died from pandemic swine flu.

9. Syphilis

This sexually transmitted disease is believed to infect roughly 12 million people annually, with more than 90% of cases in the developing world. Symptoms include everything from rashes to heart problems. Sometimes it can be difficult to diagnose in its early stages, which makes early treatment difficult.

Syphilis affects between 700,000 and 1.6 million pregnancies a year, resulting in spontaneous abortions, stillbirths, and congenital syphilis. In 2015, it caused about 107,000 deaths, down from 202,000 in 1990. In sub-Saharan Africa, syphilis contributes to approximately 20% of perinatal deaths.

8. Lower Respiratory Infections

There are two types of lower respiratory infections, bronchitis and pneumonia. Some common symptoms of these infections are runny nose and sneezing, headache, and sore throat. Although in most western countries these diseases are not fatal, in the undeveloped world, a lower respiratory infection can easily be lethal.

Lower respiratory infections accounted for 2.74 million deaths in 2015, making them the fifth leading cause of death and leading infectious cause of death worldwide, according to data from the Global Burden of Disease 2015 study.

7. Cerebrovascular Disease

Basically a fancy way of saying stroke, this happens when blood flow to a part of the brain is interrupted because a blood vessel is blocked or bursts open.

Data on causes of death from the 1990s have shown that cerebrovascular diseases remain a leading cause of death. In 2001 it was estimated that cerebrovascular diseases (stroke) accounted for 5.5 million deaths world wide, equivalent to 9.6 % of all deaths.

6. Bubonic Plague

Known as a zoonotic disease, circulating mainly among small rodents and their fleas, without treatment the bubonic plague kills about two thirds of infected humans within 4 days.

Although deadly, the infection is Extremely rare: there are Fewer than 500 cases per year in Nigeria.


10 Deadliest Diseases in Human History

A viral respiratory disease in humans, the last known case of the outbreak occurred in June 2003. SARS is not claimed to have been eradicated, however, as it may still be present in its natural host reservoirs (animal populations) and may return to the human population.

4. Leprosy

This chronic disease has had a long history of making its victims social pariahs due to the way it deforms the surface of the skin. Although these days treatments have been discovered, in many parts of the developing world, leper colonies are still very prevalent.

Mortality in leprosy is often not considered important since the disease is rarely an immediate cause of death. However, leprosy patients are exposed to increase mortality risks due to its indirect effects

3. Measles

10 Deadliest Diseases in Human History

Measles is spread through respiration and is highly contagious as roughly 90% of people sharing living space with an infected person will catch it. While the vast majority of patients survive measles, complications occur fairly frequently, and may include bronchitis, and panencephalitis, which is potentially fatal.

No other vaccine-preventable disease causes as many deaths . In 1980, 2.6 million people died of it, and in 1990, 545,000 died ; by 2014, global vaccination programs had reduced the number of deaths from measles to 73,000. Rates of disease and deaths , however, increased in 2017 due to a decrease in immunization.

2. HIV

As many people know, HIV is the virus that can lead to AIDS if not aggressively kept in check. It causes progressive failure of the immune system and allows life-threatening infections and cancers to thrive. Since its discovery, AIDS has caused well over 30 million deaths.

Approximately 150,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses in Nigeria in 2017.

1. Malaria

This mosquito born infectious disease causes symptoms that typically include fever and headache, which in severe cases can progress to coma or death. It is found primarily in the tropics and as of yet there is no effective vaccination.

Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria. In 2015, there were roughly 212 million malaria cases and an estimated 429 000 malaria deaths. Increased prevention and control measures have led to a 29% reduction in malaria mortality rates globally since 2010. Sub-Saharan Africa continues to carry a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2015, the region was home to 90% of malaria cases and 92% of malaria deaths.

Uzonna Anele
Anele is a web developer and a Pan-Africanist who believes bad leadership is the only thing keeping Africa from taking its rightful place in the modern world.

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