The world has always had to deal with epidemics and deadly diseases. However, there are times when diseases have had such stubborn and lasting effects in the number of people it affects and the number of lives lost. These ten diseases no doubt top the list on the adverse effects they have had on communities around the world.
Ten deadly diseases that shook the world
The Ebola epidemic is not yet a thing of the past. There is a present outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, from where it originated. It is currently the second-worst in history. So far, it has killed 1,105 people. The outbreak has been going on for about nine months. Also, community distrust and the volatile security situation made it more complicated. The deadly disease made its way to parts of the world in 2014 when a couple of people died, Nigeria inclusive. The victims suffer from muscle weakness, fevers and severe internal and external bleeding that leads to death. There is no treatment for it yet and very few chances of survival.
This disease is an infection to the small intestine. It is transmitted by drinking water or eating food contaminated with faeces. It affects about five million people in the world, and over 100,000 people die from it every year. A lot of people, especially in underdeveloped countries with bad hygiene, still struggle with this disease.
The World Health Organisation declared smallpox completely eradicated. This followed the vaccination campaigns of the 20th century. Before the vaccination, smallpox killed about 500 million people in the 20th Century alone – it was that deadly.
4. Yellow fever
Found in South America and parts of Africa, this disease is transmitted by the bite of female mosquitoes. The symptoms include chills, fever, anorexia, nausea, headache, muscle pain and backache. It usually subsides after some days. Warfare and social disruption across Africa have made the diseases stage a comeback since the ‘80s. Some countries in Africa like Ghana require people coming into their country to get the vaccination before entry.
This disease is spread by airborne saliva. It usually attacks the lungs. Its symptoms include chronic cough with bloody phlegm, night sweats, weight loss and fever. According to experts, about a third of people in the world are living with some form of tuberculosis. It is caused by bacteria that spread from person to person through microscopic droplets released into the air.
6. Avian influenza
This is popularly known as bird flu. It is usually transmitted through the air like tuberculosis or through direct contact with contaminated surfaces. It is a strain of influenza whose main host are birds. Humans contract the strain from contact with infected fluids or handling infected dead birds. There have been huge deadly outbreaks in agricultural parts of Africa and Asia.
This is a medical condition caused by prolonged contraction of skeletal muscle fibres. The infection generally occurs upon comtamination of a deep cut or wound. The infection causes muscle spasms in the jaw and other parts of the body. It can also cause death, in extreme cases.
This is the inflammation of the protective membranes covering the spinal cord and brain. Infections or bad reactions to certain drugs can cause the inflammation. The symptoms are vomiting, inability to tolerate light and loud noise, fever and, sometimes, confusion and altered consciousness. According to WHO, a vaccination campaign was underway in Nigeria in 2017 to contain an outbreak of meningitis C, a strain of meningitis which first emerged in the country in 2013. In 2017, Nigeria reported 4637 suspected cases and 489 deaths across five states.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, often abbreviated as COPD, is caused by noxious particles or gas. Scientists mostly attribute it to tobacco smoking that causes an abdominal inflammatory response in the lungs. Projections say that this disease will to be the fourth leading cause of death by 2030. This is due to an increase in smoking in many countries around the world.
10. Ischemic heart disease
This is pretty much a heart attack, and an estimate of 1 in 3 people die from heart disease. We also call it coronary artery disease and coronary heart disease. A major cause of this disease is a blood clot. The clot might block an artery and lead to a sudden heart attack.