4 Horrible animal-borne infectious diseases that can affect you and your family

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1. RABIES

Rabies is a devastating virus that infects all warm-blooded species, including humans. The rabies virus is found in the saliva and brain tissue of afflicted animals. With that being said, the virus mainly transmits to humans through animal bites; Saliva coming into contact with open cuts or wounds can potentially spread the infection as well. Humans are most commonly infected with rabies through bat and dog bites.

According to the World Health Organization, the incubation period for rabies is usually 2–3 months. However, it can range from 1 week to a year depending on factors like the virus’s entrance point and viral load. Due to the long incubation period, rabies is incredibly fatal, so fatal in fact that it has the highest mortality rate of any disease found on earth. With that being said, fever and headaches are among the first signs of rabies. Before death, this disease will quickly advance to a neurologic ailment, causing paralysis, confusion, difficulty swallowing, and agitation. Other unanticipated symptoms of rabies include hydrophobia or a dread of water. Prevent your pets from contracting rabies by getting them the necessary vaccinations from your veterinarian.

While rabies can be cured with a series of treatments, including vaccines, the outcome is generally fatal if treatment is not given quickly after exposure. Rabies is responsible for around 59,000 deaths worldwide, according to the CDC.

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2. MALARIA

Malaria is actually a parasitic disease caused by the Plasmodium parasite, not a virus, the parasite that causes Malaria is carried by the Anopheles mosquito. Here’s a fun little fact, only female mosquitoes bite humans and animals to get blood! When mosquitoes bite humans, they employ saliva to prevent blood clots, the saliva in these mosquitoes is also used to deliver the parasite into our bloodstream which is quite frankly, super weird to think that mosquito fluid is flowing into your body.

Malaria infected roughly 229 million people worldwide in 2019, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Around 409,000 people died in the same year, with children under the age of five accounting for 67 percent of all deaths. Malaria symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on the parasite strain. Mild flu-like symptoms include fevers, headaches, muscle aches, vomiting, and diarrhoea.

Severe cases of Malaria can also lead to anemia, organ failure, and jaundice; Jaundice causes the human skin and eyes to turn yellowish in color.

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

3. HIV and AIDS

Since its discovery in the 1980s, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has been a global health concern. At the end of 2019, the World Health Organization reported that 38 million individuals worldwide were infected with HIV. The virus attacks the immune system, weakening our body’s ability to fight illnesses. The last stage of HIV infection, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), leads to the development of certain types of cancers.

HIV is a form of lentivirus that assaults the immunological symptoms of monkeys and apes, comparable to the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV). Scientists have discovered that HIV strains are genetically similar to those found in chimps and sooty mangabeys. The most frequent idea for how the SIV strain acquired HIV in humans is that hunters contracted the virus by eating “bushmeat” from chimps or monkeys or by putting contaminated blood into wounds. SIV has evolved to become HIV once inside the human body.

Weight loss, fever, diarrhoea, and swollen lymph nodes are among the first symptoms of HIV in humans. The immune system is weakened as a result of the infection.

There are HIV therapy regimens that suppress the virus and allow infected people’s immune systems to heal and combat infections. As the hunt for an HIV cure continues, lifelong antiretroviral medication (ART) is being used to help prevent virus transmission.

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4. NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

There is no surprise that COVID-19 would appear in this list. The virus which became a pandemic in early 2020, was caused by a novel coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2. While the virus’s genetic makeup implies it originated in bats, Chinese officials believe the initial epidemic in Wuhan was linked to a wet market. According to two possibilities, the market sold pangolins, or palm civets, which may have been the intermediate species that carried the virus from bats to humans.

The symptoms vary based on the strain and the person who has been afflicted. It can cause sore throats, headaches, diarrhoea, and skin rashes, among other things. Severe symptoms include the loss of smell or taste, consistent chest pain, and loss of neurological functions such as speech, mobility, and confusion.

As of 10th of September. We still do not know how the virus first infected humans since illness origin study takes time. We do know that it has killed people and that it is incredibly contagious. COVID-19 has infected about 230.3 million people worldwide as of late September of 2021, resulting in over 4.72 million deaths.


Zack Yong is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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Zack Yong
Author: Zack Yong

Fulltime learning software engineering. Part time Freelance Writer.