Pandemic: The World's Most Dangerous Virus

In the past there have been a handful of deadly viruses sweep across the world killing millions in their path. And it is possible that one of these old threats could mutate and in todays global world spread around the world once again.

Pandemics are nothing to speak lightly on. Statistically speaking the Influenza virus has killed more people globally than any other virus. The 1918 Spanish flu outbreak affected 20 to 40 percent of the world’s population and in the two years that it was active it killed almost 50 million people worldwide.

In 1945 the discovery of a flu vaccine averted for many years a pandemic like the Spanish Flu virus outbreak from occurring again. Yet even with the protection of a vaccine the influenza virus continues to kill thousands of people each year. It like most virus strains has the ability to mutate and to spread around the world to create a pandemic form of illness that people will have no resistance to.

 There were very real health concerns that the H1N1 Swine flu pandemic of 2009 could equal that of the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak but fortunately it did not reach that degree. Luckily some seniors showed that they had already developed some resistance to the H1N1 virus courtesy of a similar flu in the 1970s so a vaccine was able to be quickly introduced to further protect large portions of the population. 

Ebola:The first reported case of Ebola virus appeared in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The virus received its name after the Ebola River Valley where it first appeared. Ebola has had a 53 to 90 percent yearly death rate with an average death rate of 83 percent over the 27 years that it has been documented. Fortunately this illness has been confined to small clusters of the population and has then run its term without expanding globally.

HIV AIDS: The HIV or AIDS virus made its appearance known in 1981. Statistics taken in 2008 showed that more than two and a half million people were infected with the HIV virus that year. Two million people died from it during those early years and an estimated 36 million people worldwide have died from it since. So could HIV/AIDS be the most dangerous virus in the world? With no known cure its numbers are still rising. It is estimated that about 34 million people still live with the AIDS virus.

Smallpox: Smallpox was one of our most deadly viruses. It is estimated that in just the 20th century alone there were over 300 million people killed by this virus. Originating in ancient times it has a history of pandemic outbreaks killing 30% of those that it infected.

Fortunately smallpox is one of just two viruses that has been successfully eradicated around the world courtesy of a stringent vaccine campaign. The virus does still exist in some laboratories and the fear exists that it could be used in biological weaponry in the future. Image:

Rabies: The rabies virus is generally spread through the bite or saliva of an infected animal. Causing inflammation of the brain Rabies are fatal if not treated and once a person displays symptoms of the disease it is almost always lethal. Rabies still kills between 50,000 and 60,000 people worldwide each year. In the U.S. there are generally only a couple cases reported each year. We are fortunate here in the west to have vaccinations available for our pets this has greatly reduced the risk here of contacting rabies. In the U.S. and Canada rabies is most often spread through bats, skunks, raccoons, foxes, and coyotes. In Africa and Asia it is most often contracted through a dog's bite.

Ziki Virus: The Ziki virus was discovered in Ugandan monkeys in 1947 but it did not make a leap into humans there until 1952. It is believed that mosquitoes were the carrier in this transaction. In 2016 Ziki was diagnosed in the U.S.Ziki is spread by mosquitoes but also through sexual fluids and potentially through infected blood products. This flu generally has mild symptoms but of main concern is the damage to the fetus of pregnant women. Babies born have a distinctive form of brain abnormality including microcephaly (misshapen or smaller head shape).

Avian Flu H5N1: The Avian H5N1 flu virus is still lying in wait. Commonly known as the bird flu virus this influenza strain is able to bypass pigs and leap directly from bird into human. It is also known that there are a number of other bird flu strains currently out there. Could one of these be the influenza virus strain which mutates to kill millions once again?

West Nile Virus: Another newcomer to the virus scene in the United States and Canada is the West Nile Virus which can be easily spread by the common mosquito. Interesting is the fact that West Nile can infect birds. It is believed that crows will be particularly susceptible to this flu and could affect their numbers in future years.

Noro Virus: The Noro virus has also been making news headlines of late. Although not pandemic it is proving very difficult to fight with our current antibiotic drugs.

Coronavirus Covid-19: It began in China and quickly spread throughout the world. Over 7 million people have lost their life to this illness and there will likely be many more. This new virus would turn out to be the deadliest we have had to deal with since the 1918 Spanish flu. It killed millions within a 2 year span and it was only the quick introduction of suitable vaccine therapy that kept it from killing billions. Fortunately recent mutations have mellowed Covid and usually plenty of rest and liquids will generally get us back to normal functioning power in a week or two. For the elderly and those who are immune compromised this virus is still a dangerous threat.

The question remains: Could a virus mutate once again to become the most dangerous virus in the world? A nasty case of the flu can knock you off your feet. Odds were that the majority of us would be unlikely to experience a killer flu virus in our lifetime but then the Coronavirus named Covid:19 struck. 

So is another deadly pandemic waiting to emerge? Whether it arrives through global travel, re-emergence, mutation, or biological weaponry there is a good chance that we will face again a virus of pandemic proportions. The next deadly virus outbreak may already be hiding quietly out there waiting to strike. Perhaps Covid will mutate once again to be this threat or some other yet-undetected influenza or one of the older known flu viruses will be the one which strikes again in pandemic proportions. Any one of these could indeed turn out to be the most dangerous virus currently in the world. 

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