The Top Seven Deadliest Viruses

Top Seven Deadliest Viruses

By Nathan Derhake

Were you ever interested in what is the deadliest virus on Earth, or wondered if there would be another plague and what virus would cause this  future plague? If you did, I will give you my opinion on the top seven most scary, deadly, and interesting viruses on the planet.    


#7 Marburg Virus                                                       

The Marburg Virus is a virus similar to other viruses, and it leads to organ failure, high fever, bleeding around the body, and shock. Some outbreaks of the Marburg Virus had a mortality rate (chance of death) of over 80%. Infected monkeys are responsible for spreading this virus. If infected with the Marburg virus, you should expect chest pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and other severe symptoms in the next 5 to 10 days. I ranked this virus as number seven because there were no large outbreaks of this virus and it was not responsible for many deaths, but it was still worthy of being on this scale because of its high mortality rate and its miserable symptoms.  


#6 Rabies

Forty percent of the people that die from Rabies are under fifteen years old. Rabies is a virus that decays the brain and is spread through a bite by a rabid animal, which is an animal infected with rabies. Without medical assistance, it has a 100 percent mortality rate. Once bit by a rabid animal, it will take only a few weeks to multiple months for the virus to enter the brain and the symptoms to began to occur. Symptoms can be confusion, anxiety, and a lot of foamy spit. Once the symptoms occur, rabies will kill you in about a week. I chose to rank this virus at only number six because there is a vaccine and antibiotics available to cure this virus. In some places, without these medications you will die (like in Africa and India).


#5 HIV

Some people consider Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV to be the deadliest virus today.  The immune system (which fights diseases) knows when you have HIV, but it cannot find where it the virus is, so the immune system does something to kill the virus that actually makes the virus stronger.    Early HIV symptoms can include fever, rashes, sore throat, and fatigue. If HIV progresses to AIDS, symptoms can be pneumonia, severe weight loss, and tiredness. You must have HIV if you have AIDS, but you may sometimes have HIV and not AIDS. Click this link if you want to see for more detail about the difference between HIV and AIDS.  HIV does not kill you, but weakens your immune system so that a common cold can. I ranked HIV here because HIV can become inactive with medication, but is still contagious through sharing of blood. A lot of third-world countries cannot get the medication for HIV, so it is still a problem in some places.


#4 Smallpox

Smallpox is a very old virus that has killed people for several thousand years. Even if you survive, Smallpox can give you permanent scars, blindness and other nasty aftershocks. Smallpox is the virus responsible for the most deaths out of all viruses. Smallpox is spread by infected  people. If you receive Smallpox, it will take one to three weeks to get the symptoms which are high fever, aching, then rashes that form into bumps and blisters. This virus has around a 35% mortality rate and kills you by weakening your immune system like HIV. I ranked this virus where it is because it was responsible for the most deaths out of any virus, but there is now a vaccine for Smallpox and it is more uncommon nowadays.


#3 Hantavirus Pulmonary System (HPS)

The Hantavirus became famous when it suddenly killed a healthy man and his wife. The Hantavirus Pulmonary System (HPS) is a virus spread by infected rodent droppings or saliva.  Scientists are wondering if food infected with HPS can give you the virus. It takes one week to two months to get the early symptoms which include fevers, headaches, dizziness, and chills. One survivor described later symptoms as, “…tight band around my chest and a pillow over my face”. This link goes to a website that talks about more about this virus. HPS has no treatment and a mortality rate of 38%. I ranked this virus this severe on the scale because it has no treatment, cure or vaccine, but not any higher because if the virus was detected early, it may be treatable.

#2 Ebola

Ebola was discovered in the late nineteen hundreds when there were two outbreaks of this virus in Central and Northeastern Africa. Like the Marburg virus, Ebola has many strands, some with over a 70% mortality rate. This virus was said to be caused by infected bats, monkeys, antelope and even porcupines. Ebola can only be spread by physical contact from someone infected with the virus. Symptoms of Ebola can be high fever, diarrhea, vomiting and weakness. If the high fever from ebola does not kill you, Ebola can weaken your immune system, infest your body, and weaken the blood cells, so you die from low blood pressure. I ranked this virus number two because Ebola has a high mortality rate, many ways of killing you, and an infamous story.

#1 Influenza

One hundred years ago, Influenza alone killed over three percent of the population in less than two years. I heard that one way humans can become extinct is a mutation or a slight change of the virus Influenza. Nowadays, Influenza is common, but normally not severe. Another name for Influenza is the ‘flu’. Symptoms of the flu can be aching, chills and fever. Worse cases of the flu can be Pneumonia. Pneumonia kills you (if severe enough) by filling your lungs with fluid, or by having a lack of oxygen in your body. Today, the flu kills over 3,000 people a year. I ranked the flu as number one because this virus is the one most feared by scientists; scientists fear there will be another outbreak of influenza killing over three percent of the planet’s population which will result in over two hundred million deaths.