There is no such thing as a good diseases but believe me some are worse than others.

The list of diseases below are all infectious, all frequently fatal and all very, very unpleasant. The order reflects a mix of how deadly they are and how horrific the symptoms are.

10. Influenza (Flu)

To most people flu is a pretty unpleasant illness contracted 2-3 times in a lifetime.

Perhaps the biggest reason to fear influenza is its ability to combine and mutate to form new strains. The main fear would be that a super-virulent strain could combine with a highly transmissible strain.

9. HIV/AIDS

Human immunodeficiency virus infection / acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) works by effectively destroying the body’s defences to any number of other diseases and infections.

There is still no cure or vaccine and until very recently, no effective treatment.

New treatments with antiviral drugs have increased life expectancy greatly for those with HIV.

However, it is the ever-changing nature of the HIV virus that makes it so difficult to combat.

8. Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis can affect any part of the body

TB is highly contagious and easily spread through airborne droplets e.g. a sneeze.

Tuberculosis kills around 1.5 million people worldwide every year, second only to malaria.

The disease primarily affects lungs but can affect any part of body. The most common initial symptoms are coughing up blood followed by rapid weight loss.

As the disease progresses, large areas of the lungs are necrotized and turned into a cheese like substance.

In extreme cases the infection can erode into the pulmonary artery of the lung risking the patient drowning in their own blood.

While many cases of TB are now treatable with antibiotics new resistant forms are emerging raising the spectre of consumption once again sweeping the world.

7. Anthrax

Anthrax is a bacterial infection which in most forms is lethal.

There are three ways in which a person can become infected and this is very important to how the disease progresses.

The most lethal way is by inhalation. If not treated this is invariably fatal.

Anthrax can be ingested, often through infected meat. The initial symptoms of this form include: vomiting blood and extreme diarrhea.

The bacteria can also spread through broken skin. This causes a dark ulcer and may result in whole limb becoming very inflamed.

However, death is rare as the pathogen cannot penetrate beyond skin.

Obviously something this deadly attracted the military and anthrax was weaponized by both US and USSR.

Bioterrorism is also a possibility.

6. Cholera

Cholera is one of the most infectious diseases and is easily passed through contaminated food and water.

Cholera kills through rapid dehydration. The symptoms are non-stop vomiting and diarrhea until you can’t anymore.

What is tragic about the disease is it is very cheap and easy to treat with fluids and electrolytes.

The most virulent strains of cholera can kill within 2 hours if the patient is left untreated.

5. MRSA (Necrotizing Fasciitis)

MRSA or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus to give it its full name, is particularly scary as it renders modern medicine ineffective.

MRSA is more than just a skin infection it has been known to kill within 24 hours.

MRSA infections have one thing in common; they are resistant to a wide range of the most commonly used antibiotics that are available to mankind.

Conditions associated with MRSA include:

Necrotizing fasciitis  – a flesh-eating condition affecting deeper layers of  the skin.
Toxic shock syndrome  – a systemic infection that can be fatal.
Necrotizing pneumonia – flesh eating infection of the lungs.
Osteomyelitis – a painful bone infection.
Sepsis – a potentially fatal infection of the bloodstream
Endocarditis – infection of the heart

4. Rabies

Rabies is invariably fatal if not treated immediately after being bitten.

Rabies first infects the central nervous system and ultimately causes disease in the brain leading to death.

Symptoms include: acute pain, violent movements, uncontrolled excitement/mania and hydrophobia.

Perhaps the best known symptom though is the foaming at the mouth caused by the excessive production of saliva.

The incubation period for rabies varies greatly from a few days to several years.

Unfortunately once symptoms begin death occurs within 2-10 days.

Rabies can be carried by any warm-blooded animal, but in the vast majority of cases it is a bite from a dog that is the source.

3. Smallpox

Smallpox is possibly the most horrible looking of any disease. The classic symptom is the body being covered in pox, fluid filled pustules.

This isn’t limited to the skin either they can occur in the mouth and throat.

The number of deaths is high though because smallpox is incredibly contagious.

2. Bubonic Plague

If any disease can evoke pure terror then it is Bubonic Plague.

Responsible for the Black Death which swept Europe in the middle ages killing an estimated 100 million people.

The plague is spread by a bacteria carried by rat fleas.

Symptoms occur within 2-5 days of a bite;  initially the lymph glands nearest the flea bite swell up like golf balls (buboes). Further symptoms include: cramps, seizures and even vomiting blood.

1. Ebola

Ebola is highly contagious with evidence that it can be spread via air. There is no treatment. There is no vaccine.

The Ebola virus trumps any current disease to become the deadliest infectious disease on the planet.

Infection with Ebola starts out with pain practically everywhere;  joints, muscles, abdominal cramps, headaches.

Ebola interferes with the blood’s clotting mechanism and bleeding may occur from every orifice.  Inevitable death is usually caused by multiple organ failure and internal tissue necrosis.

 

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