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The World's Worst Dangerous Diseases

Updated on April 23, 2014

There are many diseases in the world of which majority of them are not well-known.

The well-known or common diseases are those diseases which affect human beings at a large scale – the number of lives claimed by a particular disease at a given period time.

Disease as defined by Biology-Online is "An abnormal condition of an organism which interrupts the normal bodily functions that often lead to feeling of pain and weakness, and usually associated with symptoms and signs."

Disease is also defined as "A pathological condition in which the normal functioning of an organism or body is impaired or disrupted resulting in extreme pain, dysfunction, distress, or death."

This article lists the world's most common diseases which also happen to be the world's most dangerous diseases.

The diseases listed in this article appear under any of one of these broadly categorized types of diseases according to Livestrong: cancer, viral, bacterial, autoimmune, sexually transmitted, heart, digestive, thyroid, blood and nerve diseases.



In the African continent, malaria is regarded as a killer disease. It is the most affected region in the world, especially Sub-Saharan Africa.

The most affected age groups are children who are under the age of five years, the elderly and pregnant women. When it affects pregnant women, it may lead to spontaneous abortion, miscarriage and low birth-weight babies. In the case of children, it affects the cerebral capillaries in their brains causing cerebral malaria which is fatal.

It is estimated half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria. The World Health Organization (WHO) states, “In 2010, there were about 219 million malaria cases (with uncertainty range of 154 million to 289 million) and an estimated 660,000 malaria deaths (with uncertainty range of 490,000 to 836,000)."

In Africa, one in five children will die as a result of malaria signifying a child dies every 30 seconds.

Malaria is spread by Anopheles, a female mosquito. When it bites an infected person (who has malaria parasite), it ingests the malaria parasite which after a week it is capable of transmitting the disease to a non-infected person when it bites him/her.

The symptoms range from headache, muscle aches, stomach pains, fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. If immediate or early medication is not sought, and depending on the type of parasite a person has been infected with, it can be fatal.

The advanced symptoms include: anemia, paralysis, comma, kidney failure, jaundice and convulsion.


HIV is not a disease but a virus which attacks the T-cells (a type of white blood cells). The T-cells found in the immune system are responsible for fighting infections.

On the other hand, AIDS is a disease. This is the last stage of HIV whereby the infected person is vulnerable to opportunistic infections such as tuberculosis. The immune system is weak, thereby unable to fight infections effectively.

The initial symptoms of HIV/AIDS are: fever, sore throat, tiredness, joint and muscle pains. If it is not treated early, the following symptoms appear: weight loss, white sports on the tongue and mouth, shortness of breath, loss of weight and swollen glands. In the end it may lead to death.

Some people show symptoms after two to six weeks after contracting the virus while for others it may take years. It depends on a larger scale with the person’s immune system, whether it is strong or weak.

HIV/AIDS is spread through body fluids, that is, sexual intercourse, blood transfusion, mother to child such as during birth and breastfeeding, and sharing needles. It is not transmitted through sharing, shaking of hands, or through mosquitoes.

Currently, 34 million people are infected and over 25 million have died of AIDS from the time it was first detected in 1981, according to

As stated by amFAR, "In 2011, an estimated 2.5 million people were newly infected with HIV. 330 ,000 were under the age of 15. Every day nearly 7,000 people contract HIV- nearly 300 every hour. In 2011, 1.7 million people died from AIDS. 230,000 of them were under the age of 15."


Tuberculosis (TB)

Tuberculosis is an air-borne disease which is spread through the air when an infected person sneezes, spits talks or coughs.

It attacks mostly the lungs as it is caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Most of the people do not develop the active form of the disease though they are capable of infecting others. Instead, the majority of the people infected develop latent or inactive form of the disease.

The symptoms of TB are: unending coughs that last for long, loss of weight, night sweats, jaundice, nausea, vomiting and coughing up blood.

People who are vulnerable to contracting the disease are those whose immune system is weak such as those who are infected with HIV/AIDS.

According to WHO, TB is second to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer disease worldwide. “In 2011, 8.7 million people fell ill with TB and 1. 4 million died from TB. In 2012, an estimated 530 000 children became ill with TB and 74 000 HIV-negative children died of TB.”

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is a disease that kills more people than colon, prostate, ovarian and breast cancer even when these four cancers are combined against lung cancer.

It is mostly caused by smoking cigarettes. The more a person smokes the more the damage caused to the lungs, the higher the risk of developing lung cancer.

The symptoms of lung cancer don’t appear immediately but in the advanced stage. The symptoms include: coughs lasting for long, chest pains, coughing up blood, fatigue and swelling in the neck and face.

When a person continuously inhales smoke from a cigarette smoker, he/she is at a greater risk of contracting the disease. This is because the person is inhaling directly the smoke which contains lots of harmful chemicals. This type of smoking is known as second-hand or passive smoking which is more harmful than active smoking.

Therefore, people working and/or living with people who smoke are also vulnerable to developing this disease.

In the year 2008 it is estimated close to 1.6 million were diagnosed with lung cancer, and it resulted to 1.38 million deaths



Syphilis is a contagious disease which is spread from one person to another through direct contact with syphilis sores. The sores are located on the external genitals, vagina, anus or in the rectum.

It is mostly transmitted through sexual intercourse with a person who has syphilis sores. Also, deep kisses may aid in the spread of this disease as the syphilis sores can occur on the lips or in the mouth.

When talking about sexual contact it implies vaginal, anal or oral sex.

Pregnant women can pass the disease to their unborn babies. This may result to the death of the baby prior to delivery, shortly after delivery or the baby may weigh less than is normal. There are instances when an infected baby may show no signs and symptoms after delivery. However, if the baby is not treated early, he/she may experience serious health problems leading to death such as deafness and seizures.

It is important for pregnant women to go for testing and treatment in order to avoid passing the disease to their unborn babies.

In the case of adults, if they are not treated early, it may lead to paralysis, blindness, dementia and numbness. The disease may also damage internal organs such as the brain, heart, liver and blood vessels. It may also result to death.

According to WHO, Syphilis remains a global problem "...with an estimated 12 million people infected each year, despite the existence of effective prevention measures, such as condoms, and effective and relatively inexpensive treatment options."


In conclusion, many diseases can be avoided if people practice healthy-wise practices. Diseases such as cancer, syphilis, HIV/AIDS can be prevented if people learn which ways enable a person to contract the diseases and how to avoid them.

There are diseases that result from an excessive-luxury lifestyles. Diseases such as diabetes and cancer can be prevented at a greater margin if people avoid extravagant lifestyles by minimizing consumption of junk foods and so on.

In this age, information is at our fingertips. A person does not need to go far in order to get information. When a person is armed with knowledge, the person is at a good stand to know how to prevent a particular disease from ravaging his/her body, or how to stay healthy and strong in the case a person is infected with HIV/AIDS.

In the end, if a person contracts a disease, he/she should learn how to deal with it.

Remember, early medication or treatment is better and it isadvised. Do not ignore the signs and symptoms. The disease might be what you never thought.


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