Deadliest Viruses in Human History

When we look back at the world trying to deal with a new epidemic, human beings encountered many deadly viruses. Spanish flu, which caused the deaths of 50 to 100 million people in 1920s, was the biggest epidemic in human history. Here are 8 deadly viruses that humanity fought.


The coronavirus, which the whole world fought in, also brought the epidemic diseases that led to the deaths of millions of people in the past. Recently, we struggled with diseases such as SARS, swine and bird inflow. The coronavirus of the World Health Organization is classified as a “global pandemic”. However, many diseases that had no cure in history have somehow ended.


Ebola virus


It was ebola, one of the deadliest viruses in history. The virus, first detected in outbreaks in Sudan and Congo in 1976, got its name from a river in Congo. The natural source of the virus is thought to be fruit bats in Africa. The presence of viruses coincides with the geographic distribution of these bats. This virus, with a 50 percent mortality rate, is called Ebola virus disease (EVD) or Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF). The virus is thought to spread through contact with the body secretions of infected people. Among the symptoms of the virus; fever, sore throat, muscle pain and headache. In addition, bleeding can be seen in the gums of the people. The incubation period of the ebola varies between two days and three weeks. Due to this deadly virus, 777 people have been killed since July 2018, 380 people carrying the virus have recovered.

Marburg virus


In 1967, a group of lab workers caught a new type of hemorrhagic fever in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany, and Belgrade, Serbia, due to some African green monkeys carrying the virus. This disease, which has a risk of death from 23 to 90 percent, is spread by close contact from person to person. The symptoms start with headaches, fever and a rash on the body. However, the virus then causes multiple organ failure and internal bleeding. There is no treatment. Recent cases were seen in Uganda in 2014.




It is known to cause kidney syndrome (HFRS) hemorrhagic fever discovered during the Korean War and hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) that appeared in 1993. Hantaviruses are viruses that have many types in nature and some of them can cause disease in humans. The source of hantavirus in nature are mice and similar small rodents. The disease is not transmitted directly from person to person. However, the feces of living things carrying the virus can be transmitted through their fluids. Therefore, there is no need for measures such as quarantine patients. However, the disease can be transmitted by direct contact of a patient infected with Hantavirus, such as blood and urine, to the mucous membranes. Among the symptoms of hantavirus; fatigue, fever, pain in large muscle groups. Also in the infected person; Symptoms such as headache, dizziness, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea may be seen.

Lassa Virus


Lassa is transported in West Africa by a mouse species called Mastomys natalensis. Lassa fever, an acute viral disease, was first seen in the Lassa region of Nigeria. This virus, which is from the same family as the Ebola virus, can pass from animals to humans. Lassa fever symptoms include; there is mild fever, weakness and headache. In the following symptoms, bleeding in the gums, eyes and nose of the infected person may occur, and breathing difficulties may be experienced. Accordingly, the person is in shock and loses his life. The mortality rate of the Lassa virus is around 1 percent. However, this rate can reach 15-20 percent in hospitalized patients.


Rabies virus

One of the scariest viruses, rabies, is; a viral disease that heavily holds the central nervous system. This disease can also pass from animals to humans. The virus, which enters the muscle tissue after being bitten by the diseased animal, first multiplies in the muscle tissue. It then reaches the central nervous system through the peripheral nerves and from there to the brain. However, rabies has a vaccine. In 1882, Louis Pasteur discovered rabies virus, which cannot be seen even with a microscope. Later, rabies virus used the substance obtained from drying the rabbit’s spinal cord as rabies vaccine. This vaccine needs to be administered in 5 doses. People who are bitten by a suspect animal must have treatment. On the other hand, the incubation period of the disease can vary from eight days to two years. If rabies vaccine or anti serum is administered within this period, the disease can be prevented without symptoms.

Variola virus causing smallpox


The virus that caused the smallpox caused hundreds of millions of lives worldwide for thousands of years. Smallpox was among the deadliest viruses in history. But ultimately the vaccine of smallpox was developed. It is accepted that British surgeon Edward Jenner found the vaccine against the disease. The cause of this virus is a virus from the Poxvirus group. This virus is manifested by sudden and severe symptoms.The incubation period is 10-14 days. In the infected person; headache, fever, vomiting appear. Then small red spots appear on the face, head, chest, back, arms, and legs in case of strong blisters.


Dengue virus


This virus causes Dengue fever. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. The virus can cause very severe pain, high fever, and internal bleeding. Dengue fever can become a vital risk in a small number of people. The virus is treatable and not contagious. However, a vaccine for the virus has not been developed yet. On the other hand, it is not possible to be protected too much because it is transmitted by mosquitoes. Every year, it is known that between 50 and 100 million people get dengue every year.

The insidious virus that we learned not to underestimate; Flu


Influenza is a virus that we have been experiencing for years and we live with, but it is not a completely curable virus. Because antibiotics are not effective on the virus. In addition, the Spanish flu in 1918 was one of the worst outbreaks in human history. Spanish flu, a deadly virus, infected 20 to 40 percent of the world’s population. It caused the death of 50 million people in just two years. However, the flu virus entered our lives in different ways because it was mutated for a long time. In 2009, H1N1 swine flu killed tens of thousands of people worldwide.


Jake Eloman

Hello there. I'm on the GMSPORS Editorial team and one of the SEO support staff. I am one of the GMSPORS employees in the preparation and research of many content.

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