The diseases that could kill us tomorrow

By Nick Oetken
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The diseases that could kill us tomorrow

Nick Oetken
 
 
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For a disease to kill thousands or even millions of people it only needs a tightly populated area and one dangerous pathogen. Even though there has never been a virus that completely wiped out humanity, few diseases have come close enough. Many experts believe that there might be an even deadlier disease than famine or war, which will ultimately kill us tomorrow.

Here’s a list of diseases that could do us in.

Ebola virus

The Ebola virus is one of the deadliest virus in history
The Ebola virus is one of the deadliest virus in history

As a result of the outbreaks that occurred in western African villages, most people are familiar with this deadly virus. Luckily, there is no recording of Ebola infection anywhere in urbanized areas. It begins as a virus carried by bats, who then infect monkeys and apes, who at the end infect people that are in contact with them.

For now, we’re lucky that the virus has been limited to remote areas and villages. But, there is always the possibility that it might expand and spread in wider regions, and infect more people. Bats can easily travel longer distances and infect other animals, which will spread the disease faster. We can hope that the containment procedures will continue to be successful so that we don’t have to deal with this problem on a global level.

Return of the Bubonic Plague

A resurgence of this plague on a global scale would be brutal and swift, and it will for sure be deadlier than the one that swept through Europe in the 14th century. The plague came to Europe on fleas carried by rats and other rodents, via trade routes from Asia.

This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe. After the incubation period of 2-6 days, symptoms of the plague appear including severe malaise, headache, shaking chills, fever, and pain and swelling, or adenopathy, in the affected regional lymph nodes, also known as buboes.
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe. After the incubation period of 2-6 days, symptoms of the plague appear including severe malaise, headache, shaking chills, fever, and pain and swelling, or adenopathy, in the affected regional lymph nodes, also known as buboes.

Unfortunately, the disease, also known as the Black Death, is not a thing of the past. Today, there are cases of people who still catch the plague in isolated pockets throughout the world. So, it could be a matter of time before it spreads again and claims more lives in far more tragic ways.

Deadlier swine flu

Deadlier swine flu
Deadlier swine flu

The swine flu is very easily transmitted from one person to another, and even though it starts off small, it can quickly turn into a larger epidemic scale. You probably remember this virus from back in 2010, when luckily the fatality rate wasn’t high enough to threaten the global population. Unfortunately, there’s always the possibility for the swine flu to return deadlier and faster. It can easily spread through the air, and it can be a significant threat to the world’s population.

Outbreak of the Marburg Virus

Marburg Virus
Marburg Virus

This virus is highly contagious and fatal. According to scientists, it’s closely related to the Ebola virus. The first ever recorded case of this virus was in Yugoslavia and Germany in 1967. It was discovered that the virus had been transported to these countries via monkeys from eastern Africa who carried the disease. Luckily, the virus was eliminated and contained in Yugoslavia and Germany at the time, but it continued spreading and appearing throughout Africa. Tragically, over 80 percent of the infected people ultimately died from the virus. The latest recorded case of the Marburg virus was in 2008 in Africa.

The symptoms of the infection are muscle cramps and aches in the entire body, but it can develop into much more severe ones like skin peeling and bleeding throughout the body. It’s known to be one of the most painful diseases.

If the Marburg resurfaces and spreads again, we need to do everything we can to contain it, as we did in Germany and Yugoslavia. Otherwise, it can develop into one of the deadliest diseases in our history.

Disease X

A new disease might appear even while you’re reading this article
A new disease might appear even while you’re reading this article

Since there are many recorded diseases throughout history, the next one that strikes could be entirely new. It’s tough to predict the type of the disease and when it will strike. But, it can easily be predicted that the next bad epidemic will be a zoonotic disease, meaning it’s carried by animals and then transferred to humans.

The worst thing about epidemics is that we don’t have control over them, and they are a serious threat to humanity. Even though we have medications, prevention measures, and treatment for many existing diseases, we cannot control the unknown ones.

Precautionary measures

Taking a flu shot might be a very useful thing to do
Taking a flu shot might be a very useful thing to do

Some of the measures you can take to reduce the chances of catching a disease if it hits:

  • Leave the infected area
  • Adopt clean sanitation measures
  • Take personal hygiene seriously
  • Always have first aid equipment
  • Have medical gloves and masks on standby

The fact is that diseases are on top of the list of things for which we need to prepare. Sure, nuclear spills, terrorist attacks, a new world war, famine, economic collapse, and many others are serious threats to humanity, and we need to prepare for them as well. However, diseases can spread across the globe and claim many lives in ways that no other can.

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