You may think that in the 21st century the infectious diseases are no longer a major threat to the human life. But this is far from the truth. Read the entire article to meet the killers.
This one is not caused by a virus or bacterium. The organisms causing it are eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. But they don’t infect exclusively humans – but also rodents, reptiles, birds and monkeys. Malaria is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions. That’s because warm and wet conditions, where stagnant water abounds, are ideal for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are a vector for malaria, which means they transmit malaria to us. How common and how deadly malaria really is? There are approximately 225 million cases of malaria every year, resulting in about 780,000 deaths – killing mostly children in sub-Saharan Africa.
Tuberculosis (or TB) spreads through the air in saliva (coughing, sneezing, spitting into people’s food). In most cases it results in an asymptomatic infection. However, in 10% of cases it progresses to active disease, which, if left untreated, kills 50% of people infected. Contrary to what you may believe tuberculosis doesn’t only affect lungs. Skin, eyes and other parts of your body can also be attacked. Treatment is already difficult and becomes more so with the rise of multi-drug-resistant TB cases. One in three people in the world is infected with TB (5-10% in U.S.) and a new person joins this club every second. Tuberculosis kills about 1.6 million people every year.
3) Diarrheal diseases
HIV doesn’t kill directly. It causes AIDS – Acquired immune deficiency syndrome. By destroying human immune system, it allows bacteria, viruses and cancers to frolic freely inside your body. What would be a simple cold for any healthy person could be deadly for someone with AIDS. Keep reading for some scary numbers. AIDS kills around 2 million people every year. There are around 33 million infected people in the world and the number of new HIV infections every year stands at around 2.5 million.
1) Lower Respiratory Tract Infections (or LRIs)
In 2002, LRIs killed about 3.9 million people worldwide.
Source for all the images: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
World Health organization Factsheet on Tuberculosis
National Health Service page on Tuberculosis
HIV InSite – a project of the UCSF Center for HIV Information
Roll Back Malaria – The Global Partnership for a Malaria-free World
Infectious Diseases Articles on Medscape