deadliest diseases in human history
. Taking its name from the Ebola River, near which the disease first appeared in 1976, the virus is transmitted from person to person via direct contact with bodily fluids. Symptoms include muscle pain, weakness, and high fever. It has a fatality rate of 90 percent.
. An ancient and greatly feared disease, smallpox is fatal in as many as 30 percent of cases. The death toll was estimated at almost 500 million until it was declared eradicated in 1977 after a WHO programme of vaccination.
. Transmitted to humans via the bites of infected mosquitoes, these days Yellow Fever occurs most often in South America and Africa, and WHO estimates that of the 200,000 new cases each year, roughly 30,000 die.
. Though it typically attacks the lungs, the Tuberculosis bacteria can also affect the brain, spine and kidneys. According to WHO, someone somewhere is infected with TB every second and 1.3 million people died from the disease in 2012.
. A highly contagious respiratory disease, many are successfully vaccinated against measles, but it still rages in parts of Africa, Asia and the eastern Mediterranean, causing an astonishing 22 deaths each hour.
. The most common cancer-related killer worldwide, lung cancer is responsible for 1.38 million deaths each year. According to WHO, smoking is the most important risk factor in 70 percent of deaths.
. Cholera causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea and death can occur within hours. Most prevalent in countries where access to clean water is limited, WHO estimates that there are some 3 to 5 million cases each year.
. A mosquito-borne disease, malaria causes severe flu-like symtomps. Without treatment, it can be fatal, with 90 percent of the million deaths each year occurring in children in Sub-Saharan Africa.
. One of the world?s most devastating epidemics, ?Spanish Flu? is estimated to have killed between 30 and 50 million people in 1918/1919
Chronic lung disease
. WHO predicts that chronic lung diseases, such as bronchitis and emphysema, will be the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030.
. HIV attacks the white blood cells that help the body fight disease. The disease can be managed, but AIDS, the final stage of the infection, has claimed the lives of more than 39 million people.
. Meningococcal meningitis is a bacteria that infects the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, and it typically affects those aged one to 30. Even with early diagnosis and treatment, some 5 to 10 percent of patients die.
. Originating in southern China in 2002-2003, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) became a pandemic that spread to 37 countries in just a few weeks. More than 8,000 people were infected, and 774 died from the virus.
. Cardiovascular diseases are now the world?s biggest killer, taking the lives of some 17.5 million people in 2012 - that?s three out of every ten deaths. Over 80 percent of those occur in low and middle-income countries.
. Bubonic plague earned the unenviable name ?the Black Death? when it rampaged through Asia and Europe in the Middle Ages, killing an estimated 25 million, wiping out almost a third of Europe?s population.
. Whooping cough affected an estimated 16 million people in 2008. Ninety five percent of those occurred in developing countries, with some 195,000 children dying from the disease.
. Hot on the heels of the SARS scare, avian influenza or ?bird flu? comes with potentially life-threatening complications. Since the outbreak in 2003, WHO estimates that of the 421 cases reported, 257 were fatal.
Influenza A H1N1
. More commonly known as swine flu, H1N1 was declared a pandemic in 2009. WHO figures put the estimated number of deaths at 18,550, but it is thought many more could have died as a result of complications.
. Historically, leprosy meant life as an outcast, and while it still does in many countries, it is treatable. The slow-growing disease affects the skin and nerves. Almost 250,000 new cases were reported in 2012.
. Although easily treatable, this highly contagious sexually transmitted infection can be fatal or result in brain or heart complications if left alone. WHO estimates that some 12 million people are infected every year.