Top 10 Deadliest Diseases

One of the most tragic parts of being human is being afflicted by diseases with high morbidity and mortality. Here is our list of top 10 deadliest diseases ever known to man.


1. AIDS; 25 million from 1981 to present

AIDS is a mix of infections and complications as a result of progressive damage to the body’s immune system caused by HIV. AIDS is now considered a pandemic.


2. Influenza; 36,000 deaths annually

Influenza, which is more commonly known as flu, is a highly infectious disease that is caused by influenza virus. Transmission of the disease is by airborne and through physical contact.


3. Spanish Flu, 1918-19; 100 million deaths

The flu pandemic that happened in 1918 is termed as a category 5 flu pandemic which was caused by the flu virus strain A with subtype H1N1.


4. Bubonic Plague; 250 million deaths

This disease outbreak was mainly caused by fleas and rodents infected with Xenopsylla cheopsis. Humans were infected after being bitten by an affected rodent.


5. Malaria; 2.7 million deaths annually

Malaria is an infectious disease which is vector-borne. The causative agent is the protozoan parasites. It is a common disease in the sub-tropics and tropical regions.

6. Ebola; 160,000 deaths from 2000 to present


The Ebola virus was first isolated in1976 from the dual outbreaks that occurred in Zaire and Sudan. It is a zoonotic disease as it affects lowland apes as well as humans.


7. Cholera; 12,000 deaths from 1991 to present

The epidemic or Asiatic cholera is a very serious type of diarrheal ailment caused by Vibrio cholera. The mode of transmission is by ingesting contaminated food and water.


8. Smallpox; Population drop from 12 million to 235,000

Smallpox is a highly contagious viral disease that has two variants. The V major has a 35% mortality rate while the less severe V minor has a 1% mortality rate.


9. Polio, 10,000 deaths from 1916 to present

Polio or infantile paralysis is a viral disease that is transmitted through the fecal-oral course.


10. Tuberculosis; 75 million deaths

Tuberculosis is life-threatening if not treated promptly and for the elderly, infants, and people with a compromised immune system. The disease has resulted in around 100 million fatalities in the 20th century.


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10 Responses

  1. i have one more deadly

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  2. Wenxin

    The Bubonic plague was actually caused by bacteria species Yersinia Pestis.

  3. medic

    Bubonic Plague and “Black Death” are the same disease. As mentioned, it’s caused by Yersinia pestis.

    max is wrong. AIDS is not caused by any species of bacteria (capsule-forming or otherwise). It is caused by a retrovirus known as the HIV virus.

    The Sweating Sickness ran through England in three separate epidemics each several years apart. One scary part of this disease is that in addition to it killing extremely fast (within hours), to this day, scientists cannot figure out what pathogen caused the disease. The pathogen could still exist somewhere in the modern world or it could have been erradicated through hygiene, sanitation, or vaccination without us realizing it was the “Sweating Sickness” of the Middle Ages that we were erradicating. We may never know.

  4. medic

    One other insteresing fact:

    The Spanish Flu of 1918 was the H1N1 virus.

    We saw the H1N1 virus again in 2009 when it was labeled “Swine Flu”.

    A side note: H1N1 also ran a brief course through Russia in 1977 but was mild in severity as most people over 20 years old at the time had already built up immunity to it through exposure to similar viruses in the 1950’s.

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