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25 Deadliest Diseases in Human History

As violent as we can be towards one another, throughout history, the biggest executioner of the human race has been deadly disease. Whether it was the Black Death in 14th century Europe or Ebola in present day Africa, the loss of human life and cost to society has been astronomical. These are the 25 deadliest diseases in human history.

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15

Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

avian flu

Although we’ve already covered influenza as a whole, certain strains adapt to a particular host, in this case birds. Most human contractions of the avian flu are a result of either handling dead infected birds or from contact with infected fluids. For this reason, there have been large outbreaks in heavily agricultural parts of Asia and Africa.

14

Tetanus

rusty nail foot
Tetanus is a medical condition characterized by a prolonged contraction of skeletal muscle fibers. Infection generally occurs through wound contamination and often involves a cut or deep puncture wound. As the infection progresses, muscle spasms develop in the jaw (thus the name “lockjaw”) and elsewhere in the body.

13

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

COPD

Often abbreviated as COPD, this disease is caused by noxious particles or gas, most commonly from tobacco smoking, that trigger an abnormal inflammatory response in the lung. Worldwide, COPD is projected to become the fourth leading cause of death by 2030 due to an increase in smoking rates and demographic changes in many countries.

12

Ischemic Heart Disease

heart attack

Basically, this is a fancy way of saying heart attacks (or at least the factors that predispose individuals to them). By some estimates, 1 in 3 people are said to die from heart disease.


11

Meningitis

meningitis

Meningitis is inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. The inflammation may be caused by infection and less commonly by certain drugs. The most common symptoms are headache and neck stiffness associated with fever, confusion or altered consciousness, vomiting, and an inability to tolerate light or loud noises.

SEE ALSO: 25 Worst Earthquakes In History »

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