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Top Ten Most Dangerous Diseases

Updated on March 16, 2012

The following are the top 10 fatal diseases in the world

(1) Lower Respiratory Tract Infection

Respiratory tract system is divided into two main parts, the upper respiratory tract (URT) and the lower respiratory tract (LRT). Both parts are vulnerable to infections but the lower respiratory tract infection is more severe and dangerous. It claimed the lives of nearly 4 million person last year alone. Lower respiratory tract infection include, bronchitis, pneumonia, emphysema, and influenza, (influenza can affect both the upper and lower respiratory tract). Beside the common cold symptoms, shortness of breath, chest pain, fast and shallow breathing, and blood in the phlegm can also be present. Bacterial infection of lower respiratory tract is treated with antibiotics and pain relievers.

(2) Aids (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome)

Aids is sexually transmitted disease caused by HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) which targets and weakens the immune system. HIV virus lives in body's fluids, so any exchange of fluids with infected person may transfer the disease to healthy person. Annual infection rate of AIDS is 39.4 million, which makes it one of the highest after Malaria and Tetanus. Last year about 3 million person died from Aids, most of them in Africa. No cure for Aids has yet been found, but researchers managed to develop some drugs that slow down the activity of HIV in the body and strengthen the immune system. However, these drugs are extremely expensive and majority of patients can't afford to buy them.

(3) Malaria

Malaria is an infectious disease caused by Plasmodium, which is transmitted to humans by mosquito bite. Malaria symptoms include fever, joint pain, shivering, anemia, vomiting, and sweating. Malaria affects more than 300 million person a year. In 2010, about 655,000 people died from Malaria. The severity of the disease can vary from person to person. In most severe cases, Malaria can become chronic and very hard to cure and can cause death. Less severe cases are treated with oral drugs.

(4) Diarrhea

Diarrhea itself is not a disease, but rather a symptom, and it can be a life-threatening one. Causes of diarrhea can be bacterial (like food poisoning) or viral (like rotavirus and norovirus). Having frequent liquid bowel movements can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance in the body which can lead to death. Diarrhea affects 4 billion person worldwide every year. Annual number of deaths from diarrhea is about 2.2 million, of whom are mostly infants and children. Antibiotics, oral rehydrations, and supplements are primary treatments for diarrhea.

(5) Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is a chronic bacterial infection that affects lungs and other internal organs. The most common symptoms are fever, sweating, loss of appetite, weight loss, chest pain, coughing up blood and fatigue.Tuberculosis affects approximately 8 million people every year. Annual mortality rate for this disease is about 2 million. Anti-tuberculosis drugs are used for the treatment of Tuberculosis.

(6) Measles

Measles Is a viral infection of the respiratory system transmitted through respiration. Symptoms are fever (up to 40°), regular cold symptoms, eye redness, joints pain, headache, fatigue, diarrhea, and vomiting. Measles can lead to other health problems like ear infection, pneumonia, encephalitis, and thrombocytopenia. It affects about 30 million people every year. Annual mortality rate is about 530,000. There is no proven treatment for this disease yet.

(7) Pertussis

Pertussis or whooping cough is bacterial disease that affects the respiratory system in children. It starts with cold-like symptoms and very dry cough that slowly intensifies especially during the night, which is also accompanied by other symptoms like vomiting, chocking-like feeling, and fainting. Every year Pertussis gets to more than 20 million child and claims the lives of 200,000. Antibiotics constitute the first line treatment against this disease.

(8) Tetanus

Tetanus is bacterial disease transmitted through an infected cut or injury. This disease affects the muscular system and causes painful spasms all over the body accompanied with fever, sweating, breathing problems (when breathing muscles are involved), and irritability. 500,000 people suffer from this disease every year. The annual mortality rate is more than 200,000. The treatment of tetanus include wound care and drugs to relieve the pain and ease the symptoms. So far, no cure has been found.

(9) Meningitis

Meningitis is a disease characterized by the inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi and harmful chemical substances. Symptoms are many including headaches, fever, confusion, and sensitivity to light or loud noises. Over 1 million person are affected by Meningitis every year, and the annual mortality rate is 174,000. The treatment of Meningitis depends on the causes. Bacterial meningitis is treated with antibiotics, viral meningitis with anti-viral drugs, and fungal meningitis with anti-fungals.

(10) Syphilis

Syphilis is bacterial sexually transmitted infection. The disease has four stages: primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary. The symptoms vary in each stage and become more aggressive with the development of the disease. It first starts with skin lesions called chancre and rashes on the extremities, and follows with numbness, memory loss, paralysis, blindness, deafness, and death. 12.2 million person are affected by syphilis every year, and the annual mortality rate is about 157,000. The treatment also depends on the stage. Parenteral penicillin is given in larger and larger doses as the disease progresses.

In your opinion, will the annual mortality rate in the world due to diseases for the following years:

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