The Ten Deadliest Diseases

Number 10: Syphilis is as deadly as it is widespread. Worldwide over 12 million people per year are diagnosed with this killer and this number does not count the undiagnosed sufferers. A sexual transmitted disease, or STD, Syphilis can also be transmitted from infected mother to newborn baby.  Over 157,000 deaths are attributed worldwide to syphilis.

Number 9:  Meningitis is a bacterial infection of central nervous system.  Even with quick and modern treatment, Meningitis still has a 10 percent fatality rate.  Further survivors often suffer from brain damage, hearing loss or some other kinds of nerve damage.  One million people get one of the several forms of Meningitis every year and nearly 175,000 die.

Number 8: Tetanus, previously referred to as lock-jaw, because one of the symptoms of the disease is prolonged spasm of skeletal muscles, first affecting the face and jaw muscles. The tetanus bacteria lives in the soil and even the smallest cut can let the infection in.  Worldwide the infection rate is 500,000 cases, with a death rate of over 40 percent or nearly 215,000 deaths per year.

Number 7: Whooping cough while previously well controlled in the West by vaccines is now making a comeback due to anti-vaccine movements, primarily in California and Australia. Whooping cough, or pertussis, is highly contagious and opens the infected person up to a whole range of other respiratory infections.  It is particularly deadly in children. The worldwide infection rate is between 20 to 40 million people a year with over 200,000 deaths per year.

Number 6:  Measles is primarily a disease of children with more than thirty million infected every year.  Measles is easily curable and preventable given modern treatments, sadly, developing countries rarely have the modern medicines to treat or prevent this killer. Even children that survive will have lasting effects such as brain damage or blindness. There are approximately 530,000 deaths each year from measles worldwide.

Number 5:  Tuberculosis, or TB, one-third of the earth’s population, or over two billion people, are infected with TB.  A highly contagious airborne disease, the symptoms include fever, cough and weight loss.  Nearly 2 million people die every year of TB.

Number 4: Diarrhea has many causes and is particularly lethal to children as it can led to severe dehydration. In the developed world diarrhea is rarely deadly, but in developing countries it is a killer.  Nearly 2.2 million people die every year from this easily treatable cause.

Number 3: Malaria, meaning “bad air”, is carried by the female anopheles mosquito and transmitted to humans when the mosquito bites.   In fact, malaria is not person to person transmittable at all.  Malaria was once on its way to being well controlled by the use of DDT to kill or repel the mosquito. But with the banning of DDT, malaria made a huge comeback, especially in Africa.  Between 300 and 500 million people are diagnosed every year with malaria. Some 2.5 to nearly 3 million people die every year from the disease.

Number 2: Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the second most deadly disease.  HIV attacks the immune system exposing the victim to a wide range of other infections.  The patient doesn’t actually die of AIDS but rather of opportunistic secondary infections such as TB or pneumonia.  Nearly 3 million people a year worldwide die of AIDS.

Number1: Lower respiratory infections, such as pneumonia or other illnesses of the lungs. More than 4 million deaths a year worldwide are attributed to these simple respiratory diseases.

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