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Five Viruses that are more Threatening than Ebola

Update Date: Aug 20, 2014 03:52 PM EDT
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The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 1,000 people. The virus, which cannot be treated with current antivirals on the market, has a mortality rate at around 60 percent. Even though the virus has received a lot of attention being one of the worst outbreaks in years, health officials are confident that the outbreak can be managed and contained. Instead of worrying too much about Ebola, experts are more focused on other viruses.

"I see Ebola as a significant threat in the specific regions that it has been identified in, certainly central and west Africa," said Cecilia Rokusek, a public health expert with Nova Southeastern University's Institute for Disaster and Emergency Preparedness in Florida reported by HuffPost. "But in my opinion, it's not an imminent threat for those in the United States."

Here are five viruses that are deadlier than Ebola:

1. Rabies

Even though rabies might sound like an ancient infection with an estimated two deaths per year reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when it does occur, it is extremely fatal. People can contract rabies after being bitten by infected animals. The best course of action to take after being bitten by an animal is to receive the rabies vaccine. However, in certain cases, people might not be aware of the fact that they were bitten, particularly by bats. When rabies is left untreated, it has one of the highest death rates caused by a virus. Only three patients within U.S. history had survived from rabies without receiving the vaccine.

Even though rabies has been on the decline within the U.S., it is still common in Africa and Asia where nearly 55,000 people die per year.

2. HIV

Even though a lot of progress has been made in understanding and treating the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), it is still one of the deadliest viruses out there. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2012, HIV and AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) could be tied to an estimated 1.6 million deaths throughout the world. Since there is no cure for the virus, HIV positive people rely on antiretroviral therapy everyday.

3. Influenza

Every year, people older than six-months are recommended to get the flu vaccine. The vaccine boosts people's immune system and prepares the body to fight off the flu. Even though the flu might not sound like a big deal, it can be extremely fatal for vulnerable groups, which include young toddlers, pregnant women and older people. According to the CDC, the average number of deaths caused by the flu every year ranges from 3,000 to 49,000.

"Healthy people should get their vaccines every year. Studies have shown that the flu vaccine is an effective preventative measure," Rokusek said.

4. Mosquito-borne Viruses

Mosquitoes spread some of the deadliest viral infections, which include dengue fever, West Nile and yellow fever. Mosquitos also transmit malaria, which is caused by a parasite. These diseases can kill over 50,000 people throughout the world per year. Mosquito-borne illnesses tend to affect poorer areas in South America, Mexico, Africa and Asia where treatments and access to vaccines are limited.

5. Rotavirus

Rotavirus is a virus that causes gastrointestinal problems. According to the CDC, nearly 111 million cases of rotavirus-caused gastroenteritis are reported annually. The virus tends to affect children younger than five and can be tied to killing 82 percent of children living in developing countries. Overall, the virus kills an estimated 440,000 children worldwide each year.

Even though some of these viruses might not be a huge threat within the U.S., each one is considerably more deadly than Ebola.

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