Virus are one of the smallest pathogens that we know of, in fact they are so small that they even infect bacteria, another fact is they cannot reproduce on their own. Viruses generally take over the cells of their host and use the cell’s processes to replicate themselves.
Due to their small size and their capability to continuously mutate it is very hard for us to prescribe a proper treatment for the same. Viruses are one of the pathogens that we know very little about.
Every now and then some or the other viral disease surfaces on our planet that tries to eradicate the human race.
Even with the advancement of medical and scientific technologies we are still far away to find a definite cure for all the viral infections.
We bring you the 10 deadliest viruses in the world and a brief history of the same.
1. Marburg Virus: Marburg virus is named after Marburg in Germany where it was first discovered, after some lab workers contracted a new type of hemorrhagic fever that was carried by some african green monkey’s that were bought for research on Polio Vaccine.
Marburg virus is classified as BSL4 (Biosafety Level 4) by CDC (Centers for disease control and Prevention).
Marburg virus is similar to Ebola and the patients develop humongous internal bleeding, high fever resulting in shock, multiple organ failure and eventually death.
Marburg Virus has a mortality rate of 80-90%. It spreads through close human-to-human contact.
2. Ebola Virus: Ebola was first discovered in 1976 in Zaire (Now Democratic Republic of Congo), it is similar to Marburg, it spreads through body fluids, or tissues of infected human or animal. There are many strains of Ebola virus some doesn’t even make you sick, but others like the Sudan strain has a mortality rate of 70%.
The last reported outbreak was in 2014 in west Africa, it causes severe internal bleeding and external bleeding like bleeding gums. There is no known cure for the same till date.
3. Spanish Flu (H1N1): Spanish flu named as it was first discovered by Spain in 1918 during World War I. Although reports suggest that a grave illness was discovered in 1917 itself but to keep the morale of forces high Germany, France, US and UK minimized the early reporting of the virus whereas in neutral Spain newspapers were free to report the new Influenza.
In 1918 Spanish flu was declared as pandemic by WHO and according to reports more than 100 Million people perished, thus making it one of the deadliest pandemics in Human history.
Reports say that it was of Chinese Origin as the mortality rate was very low thereby concluding that Chinese people had already acquired immunity from the Virus.
4. Lassa Virus: Lassa Virus was first described in 1950’s but it was until 1969 that it was identified and named as Lassa Virus, CDC has classified this as BSL4 due to it’s deadly nature, 80% of the patients does not show any symptoms of the disease.
Rats are the carrier of the virus and spreads by contact with urine of feces of the rats. It is named after the town Lassa in Nigeria where the disease was first described in 1950’s.
1 in 5 cases result in severe disease and affects many organs like Liver, Spleen and Kidneys.
5. Rabies: Rabies has been there since 2300BCE as per the record of Babylonians where people got mad and died after being bitten by dogs. Although the vaccine was introduced in 1920’s for pets and we have treatment for the same which has made the disease extremely rare in developed world but there are still many cases per year in developing countries.
If left untreated the disease will 100% result in the death of the patient. It is treatable if you seek treatment immediately after being bitten by a mammal. The vaccine for the same was developed by Louis Pasteur a French biologist and chemist.
6. Hantavirus: Hantavirus has numerous strains which are airborne, most notably HFRS(Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome) which was discovered during Korean War in 1950. According to reports more than 3000 troops were infected with the virus approximately 12% of them died.
Second is HPS (hantavirus pulmonary syndrome) which surfaced in 1993 in southwestern United States of Ameria in HPS lungs are filled with fluid a.k.a Pumonary Edema, the mortality rate of HPS in 40%.
Latest News: Hantavirus death in China has surfaced yesterday which is 10 times deadlier than SARS-CoV-2. Coronavirus.
7. HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus): HIV is still one of the biggest killer, an estimated 34million people have died due to HIV since it’s discovery in 1980’s. HIV is the biggest killer in the world of mankind.
Powerful Antiviral drugs has made it possible for people to live with HIV for years but still it’s a major killer especially in low and middle income countries like Africa. Africa accounts for more than 80% new HIV infections each year. Approximately 1 in 25 adults in Africa is HIV positive according to reports.
8. SARS-CoV-2: SARS -CoV-2 belongs to the same large family of viruses as SARS-CoV known as coronaviruses, and was first identified in December 2019 in Chinese city of Wuhan. According to initial study the virus has originated from bats and passed to humans through an intermediate animal like Pangolin, Since it’s discovery it has infected 100,000 people worldwide and caused approximately 4000 deaths worldwide.
The Virus is highly contagious and has prompted China to shut down and quarantine whole cities like Wuhan, Hubei, most countries have restricted travel to affected countries as a measure to contain the virus.
Scientists across the globe are working to find a cure, but there is no cure till now. WHO has declared Covid-19 a pandemic.
The disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 is known as Covid-19 has estimated mortality rate of 2.3%.
Older people and people with underlying health issues especially Hypertension and Diabetes are at high risk of severe complications.
Common symptoms of Coronavirus or Covid-19 include fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, the disease can progress to pneumonia in severe cases.
9. SARS-CoV: SARS-CoV