Friday, September 30, 2022

10 Deadliest Viruses On Earth: The Scary Reality

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A virus is an infectious agent that can cause disease. Viruses are small and made up of genetic material, such as DNA or RNA, and a protein coat. Viruses can only reproduce inside the cells of living organisms. There are many types of viruses, some more deadly than others. There are many deadly viruses on earth, but some are more deadly than others. These viruses can cause severe illness and death in humans and other animals. Some of these viruses are easily transmitted from person to person, while others are more difficult to spread. These viruses are highly contagious and can be spread through contact with bodily fluids. They can also be spread through the air, making them even more dangerous. Despite ongoing research, there is no cure for these viruses and no vaccine available to prevent infection.  Each virus has caused widespread damage and claimed countless lives. Despite the progress of science and technology, we still have much to learn about these deadly pathogens.

What is a Virus?

A virus is a small particle of genetic material, DNA or RNA, that can infect a living cell and reproduce. Viruses are not alive in the traditional sense but are capable of self-replication. They can spread from one cell to another, either by direct contact or through the bloodstream or other body fluids. The life cycle of a virus begins when it attaches to a host cell and injects its genetic material. The viral DNA or RNA takes over the host’s cellular machinery and directs it to produce new viruses. The viruses then break out of the infected cells and spread to other cells. Some viruses can cause serious illness or even death in humans and other animals.

Picture by pixabay

MARBURG VIRUS

The Marburg virus is a hemorrhagic fever virus that is highly contagious and causes severe symptoms including fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and internal and external bleeding. The virus is most closely related to the Ebola virus and can cause death in up to 90% of cases. The Marburg virus was first recognized in 1967 after an outbreak in Germany.

There is no specific cure for the Marburg virus and the virus is spread through contact with blood or other body fluids from an infected person. Symptoms of Marburg virus infection include fever, headache, vomiting, and diarrhea. In severe cases, the infection can lead to death within a few days.

However, there are preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of exposure, including proper hygiene and isolation of infected patients.

Up to date, there have been only 590 confirmed cases of Marburg viral hemorrhagic fever with 478 deaths all-time reported to WHO (World Health Organization).

MARBURG VIRUS
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EBOLA

Ebola is a virus that causes severe hemorrhagic fever in humans and nonhuman primates. The Ebola virus is one of the most deadly viruses on Earth, with a death rate of up to 90%. It is a member of the Filoviridae family, which also includes the Marburg virus. Ebola was first recognized in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Ebola virus has a negative-sense, single-stranded RNA genome. It is thought that the virus is spread through contact with blood or body fluids from an infected person. The virus can also be spread through contact with objects or surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Symptoms of Ebola include fever, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, and in some cases, internal and external bleeding.

The life-cycle of the Ebola virus is not fully understood, but it is believed that the virus may initially be transferred to humans from animals. There are no specific drugs or vaccines available for the treatment or prevention of Ebola hemorrhagic fever. However, supportive care including rehydration and treatment of any secondary infections can improve the chances for survival.

EBOLA
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HANTAVIRUS

Hantavirus is a virus that can cause severe respiratory illness in people. The virus was first recognized in 1993. It is a member of the Bunyaviridae family of viruses and is spread through contact with infected rodents, their urine, or droppings. The hantavirus life cycle begins when the virus is taken up by a rodent host. The virus replicates in the cells of the respiratory tract and is then shed in the rodent’s saliva, urine, and droppings. When another person comes into contact with these materials, they can become infected with the virus. 

Symptoms of hantavirus infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and muscle aches. In severe cases, hantavirus can lead to death. There is no specific treatment for hantavirus, and there is no vaccine available. However, early diagnosis and treatment with supportive care can increase the chances of survival. Each year, there are about 400 confirmed cases of hantavirus worldwide and about 36 deaths.

HANTAVIRUS
Picture by Wikimedia

DENGUE FEVER

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne virus that is transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. The disease was first recognized in 1779 and is now found in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. There are an estimated 390 million cases of dengue fever each year, with 96 million resulting in illness with over 10,000 deaths annually.. Dengue fever is most commonly spread through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito, but can also be spread through blood transfusions, organ transplants, and from mother to child during pregnancy. The virus can also be spread through sexual contact.

The dengue virus is a member of the family Flaviviridae and is made up of two strands of RNA (ribonucleic acid). The life-cycle of the virus begins when an infected mosquito bites a person, allowing the virus to enter the bloodstream. 

There is no specific treatment for Dengue Fever and it can be fatal in some cases. Prevention measures include using insect repellent, wearing clothing that covers the skin, and avoiding unnecessary exposure to mosquitoes.

DENGUE
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HIV

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the immune system, specifically the CD4 cells. The first recognized case of HIV was in 1981 in the United States.

HIV is spread through contact with bodily fluids, such as blood, semen, or vaginal fluid. It can also be passed from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. HIV is most commonly spread through sexual contact, but can also be spread through sharing needles or syringes. HIV can be deadly; it causes around 1.5 million deaths per year worldwide.

HIV attacks CD4 cells, which are essential for the immune system to fight infections and diseases. As HIV damage these cells, the immune system becomes weakened and unable to fight off other infections and diseases, which can lead to AIDS. AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV infection, and can dramatically reduce the lifespan of someone who contracts it.

There is no cure for HIV/AIDS, but there are treatments available that can prolong a person’s life. However, with proper treatment and care, many people living with HIV can lead long and healthy lives.

HIV
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RABIES

Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system. It is considered a “zoonotic” disease, meaning it can be spread from animals to humans. The virus is present in the saliva of infected animals and is spread through bites or scratches. Rabies can also be spread through contact with infected animal blood, urine, or feces. It is a serious infection that can be fatal if not treated. The virus attacks the nervous system, and symptoms can include fever, headache, and nausea. If left untreated, rabies can lead to death.

The rabies virus is a single-stranded RNA virus. It is closely related to the viruses that cause poliomyelitis and West Nile fever. The rabies virus enters the body through breaks in the skin, such as a bite wound. It then travels to the brain, where it causes inflammation and the death of nerve cells.

The disease was first recognized in the late 18th century, and there is no cure for it. However, there are treatments available that can save lives if administered early enough. Rabies is most commonly found in Africa and Asia, but it can occur anywhere in the world. Each year, rabies kills more than 55,000 people worldwide.

RABIES
Picture by Wikimedia

INFLUENZA

Influenza is a highly contagious virus that can cause severe respiratory illness in people of all ages. Influenza is a serious disease that can cause death.  Symptoms include fever, cough, headache, and body aches. The virus is spread through droplets released when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes. It can also be spread through contact with surfaces contaminated with the virus. Influenza is a seasonal disease that occurs mainly in the winter months. Each year, it causes millions of infections and deaths globally. 

The first recognized outbreak of influenza occurred in 1918 and resulted in more than 20 million deaths worldwide. Influenza is believed to cause between 3 and 5 million deaths per year worldwide. The first recognized case of influenza was in 1510 AD.

There are two types of influenza viruses: A and B. Both types are further divided into subtypes based on the surface proteins of the virus. There are 18 different surface proteins for influenza A viruses and 11 for influenza B viruses.

There are currently no drugs available to cure influenza. However, there are some drugs available to reduce symptoms and help prevent complications. Prevention is key to reducing the impact of influenza.

INFLUENZA
Picture by flickr

ROTAVIRUS

Rotavirus is a virus that is classified as a member of the Reoviridae family. It is typically a double-stranded DNA virus, but can also be single-stranded RNA. The rotavirus life cycle begins with the virus attaching to the host cell’s surface. This interaction allows the virus to inject its genetic material into the host cell. The viral genes are then replicated, and new viruses are assembled and released from the infected cell. 

Rotaviruses are spread through contact with feces, either through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects or through ingestion. Symptoms of rotavirus infection include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In severe cases, dehydration can occur which can lead to death. 

Each year, rotavirus causes an estimated over 500 000 deaths worldwide among children younger than 5 years old.

ROTAVIRUS
Picture by Wikimedia

HEPATITIS C

Hepatitis C is a virus that affects the liver. It was first recognized in 1989. Hepatitis C is a virus that affects the liver. It is one of five hepatitis viruses and is the most common type in the United States. The virus is spread through contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person. It can also be spread through sexual contact and childbirth.

Symptoms of hepatitis C include fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In some cases, people do not have any symptoms. In severe cases, the virus can lead to liver failure and death. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C and there is no cure for the virus. However, there are drugs available that can help people infected with the virus manage their symptoms. 

Every year, hepatitis C kills approximately more than  290 000 people worldwide.

HEPATITIS C
Picture by Wikimedia

MEASLES

Measles was first recognized in 1863. It is a highly contagious virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person. It can spread through coughing and sneezing and touching contaminated surfaces. The measles virus can remain alive for up to two hours in the air or on surfaces. 

The measles virus enters the body through the nose or mouth. It travels to the lungs and spreads to other parts of the body. Symptoms usually appear 10-12 days after exposure, but can take up to 21 days. Measles is a serious disease and can lead to death. Each year, approximately 140,000 people die from measles complications worldwide. 

The measles vaccine is very effective in preventing illness. It is given as part of routine childhood immunization schedules in countries where it is available. Two doses of vaccine are about 97% effective in preventing measles infection.

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