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Weird Existence / Weird

Worst Diseases Out There

Weird | June 15, 2011 / views:
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One of the worst ways for the human population to be thinned is to die from disease. Millions of people each year have perished as a result of one of any number of seemingly unstoppable diseases. Throughout history mankind has suffered the crippling and mortal effects of a ravaging disease brought on by any number of target factors ranging from animals to one single human host. Here are but ten, in no particular order, that have decimated humankind since the earliest recordings.

1. The Black Death (Plague)

The Black Death, or The Black Plague, was one of the most deadly pandemics in human history. It probably began in Central Asia and spread to Europe by the late 1340`s. The total number of deaths worldwide from the pandemic is estimated at 75 million people; there were an estimated 20 to 30 million deaths in Europe alone. The Black Death is estimated to have killed between one-third and two-thirds of Europe’s population. This malicious disease is caused by bacterium Yersinia pestis. Human Yersinia pestis infection takes three main forms: pneumonic, septicemic, and the notorious bubonic plagues. All three forms are widely believed to have been responsible for a number of high-mortality epidemics throughout human history, including the Plague of Justinian in 542 and the Black Death that accounted for the death of at least one-third of the European population between 1347 and 1353.It has now been shown conclusively that these plagues originated in rodent populations in China. More recently, Yersinia pestis has gained attention as a possible biological warfare agent and the CDC (Center for Disease Control) has classified it as a category A pathogen requiring preparation for a possible terrorist attack.

2. Polio

Polio (also called poliomyelitis ) is a contagious, historically devastating disease that was virtually eliminated from the Western hemisphere in the second half of the 20th century. Although polio has plagued humans since ancient times, its most extensive outbreak occurred in the first half of the 1900s before the vaccination created by Jonas Salk became widely available in 1955.

Polio is a viral illness that, in about 95% of cases, actually produces no symptoms at all (called asymptomatic polio). In the 4% to 8% of cases in which there are symptoms (called symptomatic polio), the illness appears in three forms:

-a mild form called abortive polio (most people with this type may not even suspect they have it because their sickness is limited to mild flu-like symptoms such as mild upper respiratory infection, diarrhea, fever, sore throat, and a general feeling of being ill) -a more serious form associated with aseptic meningitis called nonparalytic polio (1%-5% show neurological symptoms such as sensitivity to light and neck stiffness) -a severe, debilitating form called paralytic polio (this occurs in 0.1%-2% of cases), , the virus leaves the intestinal tract and enters the bloodstream, attacking the nerves (in abortive or asymptomatic polio, the virus usually doesn't get past the intestinal tract). The virus may affect the nerves governing the muscles in the limbs and the muscles necessary for breathing, causing respiratory difficulty and paralysis of the arms and legs. What to expect depends on the form of the disease (subclinical, nonparalytic, or paralytic) and the site affected. If the spinal cord and brain are not involved, which is the case more than 90% of the time, complete recovery is likely.Brain or spinal cord involvement is a medical emergency that may result in paralysis or death (usually from respiratory difficulties).Disability is more common than death. Infection high in the spinal cord or in the brain increases the risk of breathing problems. Poliovirus has killed more than 10.000 people form all around the world from 1916 up to now. Maybe it’s not top killer when you look at the numbers, but it certainly is in top when you look how serious t is.

3. Smallpox (Variola Vera)

Smallpox is a serious, contagious, and sometimes fatal infectious disease. There is no specific treatment for smallpox disease, and the only prevention is vaccination. There are two clinical forms of smallpox. Variola major is the severe and most common form of smallpox, with a more extensive rash and higher fever. There are four types of variola major smallpox: ordinary (the most frequent type, accounting for 90% or more of cases); modified (mild and occurring in previously vaccinated persons); flat; and hemorrhagic (both rare and very severe). Historically, variola major has an overall fatality rate of about 30%; however, flat and hemorrhagic smallpox usually are fatal. Variola minor is a less common presentation of smallpox, and a much less severe disease, with death rates historically of 1% or less. Transmission occurs through inhalation of airborne variola virus, usually droplets expressed from the oral, nasal, or pharyngeal mucosa of an infected person. It is transmitted from one person to another primarily through prolonged face-to-face contact with an infected person, usually within a distance of 6 feet (1.8 m), but can also be spread through direct contact with infected bodily fluids or contaminated objects (fomites) such as bedding or clothing. Rarely, smallpox has been spread by virus carried in the air in enclosed settings such as buildings, buses, and trains.  This disease originated from South America in 18th century and from the time killed over 60 million people.

4. Cholera

Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission is primarily through consuming contaminated drinking water or food. The severity of the diarrhea and vomiting can lead to rapid dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Primary treatment is with oral rehydration solution and if these are not tolerated, intravenous fluids. Antibiotics are beneficial in those with severe disease. Cholera has likely been with humans for many centuries. Reports of cholera-like disease have been found in India as early as 1000 AD. Cholera is a term derived from Greek khole (illness from bile) and later in the 14th century to colere (French) and choler (English). In the 17th century, cholera was a term used to describe a severe gastrointestinal disorder involving diarrhea and vomiting. There were many outbreaks of cholera, and by the 16th century, some were being noted in history. England had several in the 18th century, most notable being in 1854.

5. Ebola

Ebola is the virus Ebolavirus (EBOV), a viral genus, and the disease it causes, Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF), a viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF). The virus is named after the Ebola River Valley in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), which is near the site of the first recognized outbreak in 1976 at a mission hospital run by Flemish nuns. It remained largely obscure until 1989, when several widely publicized outbreaks occurred among monkeys in the United States. Common symptoms are rash, red eyes, hiccups, and internal and external bleeding may be seen in some patients. When the rash develops on dark skin, it is often not recognized until the rash begins to peel. In pregnant women, abortion (miscarriage) and heavy vaginal bleeding are common Ebola symptoms. Death usually occurs during the second week of Ebola symptoms. Death in Ebola victims is usually from massive blood loss. The Ebola virus is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected persons. Transmission of the Ebola virus has also occurred by handling sick or dead infected wild animals (chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope, fruit bats). The predominant treatment is general supportive therapy. The disease killed over 160.000 people from year 1976 to year 2000.

6. Malaria

Malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, which is transmitted via the bites of infected Anopheles mosquitoes. In the human body, the parasites multiply in the liver, and then infect red blood cells. The parasites multiply inside the red blood cells, which then rupture within 48 to 72 hours, infecting more red blood cells. The first symptoms usually occur 10 days to 4 weeks after infection, though they can appear as early as 8 days or as long as a year after infection. Then the symptoms occur in cycles of 48 to 72 hours. The majority of symptoms are caused by the massive release of merozoites into the bloodstream, the anemia resulting from the destruction of the red blood cells, and the problems caused by large amounts of free hemoglobin released into circulation after red blood cells rupture.

-Severe malaria (only caused by P. falciparum) Infection with P. falciparum, if not promptly treated, can quickly progress to severe malaria. The main symptoms of severe malaria include: coma, severe breathing difficulties, low blood sugar, and low blood haemoglobin (severe anaemia). It is diagnosed on the basis of the presence P. falciparum parasites and one of the above symptoms with no other obvious cause. Children are particularly vulnerable since they have little or no immunity to the parasite. If untreated, severe malaria can lead to death.

-Cerebral malaria (only caused by P. falciparum) Malaria is classified as cerebral when it manifests with cerebral symptoms, such as coma.

Malaria continues to kill people every day – to be exact 2.800 children every day! And about 2,7 million people a year!

7. Bubonic plague

People usually get plague from being bitten by a rodent flea that is carrying the plague bacterium or by handling an infected animal. Wild rodents in certain areas around the world are infected with plague. Outbreaks in people still occur in rural communities or in cities. They are usually associated with infected rats and rat fleas that live in the home.Some common feelings of the bubonic plague were high fever, chills, headache, helplessness, and heartaches. Theses were symptoms that you can also commonly see today with simple colds like fever or headaches. Only that lasted, it seemed forever. The best they could do was lay there and moan for help. But no one would help because of fear they would die to! This kind of plague had its outbreak in year 1300 A.D. and at that time it killed more than 250 million people.

8. Spanish Flu

The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 killed more people than the Great War, known today as World War I (WWI), at somewhere between 20 and 40 million people. It has been cited as the most devastating epidemic in recorded world history. More people died of influenza in a single year than in four-years of the Black Death Bubonic Plague from 1347 to 1351. Known as "Spanish Flu" or "La Grippe" the influenza of 1918-1919 was a global disaster. The virus struck with amazing speed, often killing its victims within just hours of the first signs of infection. So fast did the 1918 strain overwhelm the body's natural defenses, that the usual cause of death in influenza patients - a secondary infection of lethal pneumonia - oftentimes never had a chance to establish itself. Instead, the virus caused an uncontrollable hemorrhaging that filled the lungs, and patients would drown in their own body fluids. By the early 1990s, 75 years of research had failed to answer a most basic question about the Spanish flu pandemic: "Why was it so fatal?" No virus from 1918 had been isolated, but all of its apparent descendants caused substantially milder forms of human disease. Examination of mortality data from the 1920s suggested that within a few years after the Spanish flu, influenza epidemics had settled down, with substantially lowered death rates.  For just two years this virus killed more than 100 million people.

9. Influenza (RNA viruses)

Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is an infectious disease caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae (the influenza viruses), that affects birds and mammals. The most common symptoms of the disease are chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, severe headache, coughing, weakness/fatigue and general discomfort. Although it is often confused with other influenza-like illnesses, especially the common cold, influenza is a more severe disease than the common cold and is caused by a different type of virus. Influenza may produce nausea and vomiting, particularly in children, but these symptoms are more common in the unrelated gastroenteritis, which is sometimes called inaccurately "stomach flu“. Flu can occasionally cause either direct viral pneumonia or secondary bacterial pneumonia. Typically, influenza is transmitted through the air by coughs or sneezes, creating aerosols containing the virus. Influenza can also be transmitted by direct contact with bird droppings or nasa secretions, or through contact with contaminated surfaces. This virus kills 36.000 people a year starting from 1918 or 1919 and spread to Asia and Europe via Africa

10. AIDS

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The virus attacks the immune system and leaves the body vulnerable to a variety of life-threatening infections and cancers. Common bacteria, yeast, parasites, and viruses that ordinarily do not cause serious disease in people with healthy immune systems can cause fatal illnesses in people with AIDS. HIV has been found in saliva, tears, nervous system tissue and spinal fluid, blood, semen (including pre-seminal fluid, which is the liquid that comes out before ejaculation), vaginal fluid, and breast milk. However, only blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and breast milk generally transmit infection to others. The virus can be spread (transmitted):

-Through sexual contact - including oral, vaginal, and anal sex -Through blood - via blood transfusions (now extremely rare in the U.S.) or needle sharing -From mother to child -- a pregnant woman can transmit the virus to her fetus through their shared blood circulation, or a nursing mother can transmit it to her baby in her breast milk.

Worryingly, many people think there is a 'cure' for AIDS - which makes them feel safer, and perhaps take risks that they otherwise wouldn't. However, there is still no cure for AIDS. The only way to stay safe is to be aware of how HIV is transmitted and how to prevent HIV infection.


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