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January 29, 2020

9 deadliest viruses that wreaked havoc on earth

National

January 29, 2020

LAHORE: At least nine deadliest viruses have wreaked havoc on the helpless inhabitants of planet Earth till date, killing millions with impunity; research conducted by the "Jang Group and Geo Television Network" shows.

The number of dead over a century ago was equivalent to three to five per cent of earth's population at the time, making it the deadliest epidemic in human history.

According to the "Journal of Translational Medicine", one of the world's leading publications in the field of translational research, this flu outbbreak had killed more people in 24 weeks than HIV-AIDS had sent to graves in 24 years!

The "US National Library of Medicine and National Institute of Health" states: "There are 219 virus species that are known to be able to infect humans. The first of these to be discovered was yellow fever virus in 1901, and three to four new species are still being found every year. Following on from the discovery of tobacco mosaic virus in 1892 and foot-and-mouth disease virus in 1898, the first 'filterable agent' to be discovered in humans was yellow fever virus in 1901." The website had added: "For some viral diseases, vaccines and antiviral drugs have allowed us to keep infections from spreading widely, and have helped sick people recover. For one disease - smallpox - we've been able to eradicate it, ridding the world of new cases." Here follow some details of these viruses, as reported by the "Live Science" website:

Ebola virus: The first known Ebola outbreaks in humans struck simultaneously in the Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976. Ebola is spread through contact with blood or other body fluids, or tissue from infected people or animals. One strain, Ebola Reston, doesn't even make people sick. But for the Bundibugyo strain, the fatality rate is up to 50 percent, and it is up to 71 per cent per cent for the Sudan strain, according to the "WHO".

Rabies: Although rabies vaccines for pets, which were introduced in the 1920s, have helped make the disease exceedingly rare in the developed world, this condition remains a serious problem in India and parts of Africa. If you don't get treatment, there's a 100 per cent possibility you will die.

An estimated 36 million people have died from HIV since the disease was first recognized in the early 1980s. Powerful antiviral drugs have made it possible for people to live for years with HIV, but the disease continues to devastate many low- and middle-income countries, where 95 percent of new HIV infections occur. Nearly 1 in every 20 adults in Sub-Saharan Africa is HIV-positive, according to the "WHO".

But before that, humans battled smallpox for thousands of years, and the disease killed about 1 in 3 of those it infected. It left survivors with deep, permanent scars and, often, blindness. Hantavirus: Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) first gained wide attention in the United States in 1993, when a healthy couple had died within days of developing shortness of breath. A few months later, health authorities isolated Hantavirus from a deer mouse living in the home of one of the infected people. More than 600 people in the U.S. have now contracted HPS, and 36 per cent have died from the disease, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Influenza: During a typical flu season, up to 500,000 people die globally from this illness, according to the "WHO", but occasionally, when a new flu strain emerges, a pandemic results with a faster spread of disease and, often, higher mortality rates. Dengue: The Dengue virus first appeared in the 1950s in the Philippines and Thailand, and has since spread throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the globe. Up to 40 per cent of the world's population now lives in areas where Dengue is endemic, and the disease - with the mosquitoes that carry it - is likely to spread farther as the world warms.

Rotavirus: Two vaccines are now available to protect children from rotavirus, the leading cause of severe diarrhea-related illness among babies and young children.

The WHO estimates that worldwide, 453,000 children younger than age 5 died from rotavirus infection in 2008. But countries that have introduced the vaccine have reported sharp declines in rotavirus hospitalizations and deaths.

Some types of them are serious, though.

In April 2014, the first American was hospitalized for MERS in Indiana and another case was reported in Florida. Both had just returned from Saudi Arabia.

In 2003, 774 people had died from a Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak. Since 2015, there have been no further reports of cases related to this particular syndrome though.

But now in early January 2020, the World Health Organization identified a new type of this virus in China and the disease is being hotly debated in media worldwide.