Throughout history, there have been many horrible pandemics that have plagued mankind, such as the black death, tuberculosis, cholera, smallpox, influenza, H1N1, malaria, and syphilis. Many of these diseases have wiped out hundreds, if not thousands, of people until a cure was finally found. Yet even now, with modern medicine making such extraordinary discoveries and innovations, the threat of such a disease appearing again is far from a fallacy. In fact, there are several such diseases that have already begun to surface, and it is necessary to be aware of their existence. It may not be a zombie apocalypse, but a plague has the ability to affect the world population in much the same abysmal way. It is always best to be prepared.
Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers (VHFs)
VHFs are serious diseases that affect multiple organs within the human body. Of highest concern is their damaging affect to the respiratory system. VHFs also weaken their victims’ ability to control their body. This illness is often accompanied by hemorrhaging. Other symptoms include: fever, headache, sore throat, abdominal pains, muscle aches, diarrhea, vomiting, shock, and multi-organ failure. VHFs are often transmitted to humans via rodents, mosquitoes, and ticks. A fever of 101˚F or higher may be an indication of this particular virus. Currently, there is no valid treatment.
Ebola is a type of VHF. 4 out of 5 Ebola strains affect humans, and there have been 31 outbreaks of the disease since 1976 across the world.
Antimicrobial-Resistant (AMR) Diseases
AMR diseases are diseases that cause a person to be immune to medicine, and therefore treating them is very difficult. Many known diseases have developed AMR, such as tuberculosis, gonorrhea, influenza, shigellosis, and malaria. There is an estimated number of 630,000 cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in the world. Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB), which can take anywhere from 6 to 16 weeks to diagnose, has been found in 84 countries. Hospital patients with infections caused by AMR diseases are twice as likely die from their infections as patients with non AMR infections.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
This strange sort of pneumonia developed in Southeast Asia in 2003, and it is unknown if treatment has been successful as results were inconclusive. Between 2003 and 2004, there were 8,096 cases of the illness across 24 different countries, 8 of which were in the U.S. 774 cases ended with the death of the inflicted. SARS symptoms include: fever, chills, possible diarrhea, headache, body aches, dry cough, shortness of breath, low blood-oxygen levels, and pneumonia.
Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A (H5N1)
HPAI H5N1 is a highly infectious and deadly form of the avian flu with no effective treatment. Since 2003, there have been 600 cases of H5N1 reported throughout 15 countries, 60% of which ended with the victim’s death. Symptoms include: high fever, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, bleeding from nose and gums, and pneumonia.
HIV/AIDS develops from a retrovirus that negatively affects the body’s immune system. Since 1981, 25 million people have died from HIV/AIDS. In 2006 alone 56,000 people contracted the disease, and there are currently 34 million people living with the disease. HIV/AIDS can be treated with antiretroviral drugs.
In 1987, an AIDS researcher claimed to contract the disease through the air. If this is true, then the world better be prepared, because there are 7 billion people on the planet and all of them breathe.