Lethal diseases that claimed lives in 2016

Lethal diseases that claimed lives in 2016

The year 2016 saw an influx of many deadly diseases globally that not only left many people 'chickened out' but also claimed numerous lives all around the globe.

Be it the infamous Zika virus, the deadly Dengue, the life-taker chikungunya or the disastrous Japanese encephalitis, all four wrecked havoc on the society.

Although measures were created and implemented to rescue people from these illnesses, yet these maladies did not spare many.

Here is a list of the diseases in detail that made the year 2016 literally a 'nightmare' for many across the globe.

Zika Virus

Zika virus claimed many lives in the year 2016 and also left many people 'wounded'.

Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. Albopictus) that usually bite during the day.

The virus can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. Zika virus can also be transmitted through sexual intercourse. A blood or urine test can confirm Zika infection diagnosis.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a warning the Zika infections are likely to keep spreading in Asia.

This warning came after hundreds of cases of the mosquito-borne virus have been reported in Singapore while two cases of Zika-linked microcephaly have already been confirmed in Thailand.

In November 2016, WHO announced the end of Zika epidemic but it was followed by a few more cases that proved that Zika epidemic is still a concern for public health.


Dengue has been the major cause of fear and panic among people especially in the national capital region of India with more than 3,000 persons affected by this deadly disease and contracted the virus this season.

This year saw a steep rise in the number of Dengue cases after nearly a decade.

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. It's symptoms include high fever, vomiting, headache, muscle and joint pain and skin rash.

Recovery can take two to seven days and in certain circumstances, it can be extendable.

There are four different types of dengue viruses namely DEN 1, 2, 3 and 4. Being affected by one of the four types offers no protection against other strains, which means much like common flu, dengue can be contracted multiple times by a patient over the course of his/her lifetime.


Chikungunya is another such disease that created panic among people and severely affected several lives in the 2016.

Experts claim that there is potential no cure for chikungunya and the treatment for this is focused on relieving the symptoms, including the joint pain using pain relievers and fluids.

Chikungunya cases rose to a tremendous heights in the year 2016 with the number of cases rising each day.

The lethal disease also took many lives and left people clueless as to what should be done in order to stay away from this illness.

Japanese Encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is a type of brain fever caused due to viral infection. JEV - a flavivirus - is closesly related to West Nile and St Louis encephalitis viruses.

This disease remained most prevalent in Southeast Asia and East Asia in the year 2016.

The vector-borne disease has claimed lives of many children in Odisha's Malkangiri district, in India.

Here are some facts about , which is also the leading cause of viral encephalitis in Asia:

  1. Usually most people infected with JEV do not show symptoms. However, if symptoms develop, they will show 5 to 15 days after being infected. Symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, neurologic symptoms, weakness, mental retardation, coma, seizures, etc.
  2. JEV is transmitted to humans through bites from infected mosquitoes of the Culex species (mainly Culex tritaeniorhynchus).
  3. The virus can not only infect humans, but also horses and pigs, leading to encephalitis in horses and abortion in pigs.
  4. The risk of becoming infected with JEV is highest during and just after rainy seasons.
  5. There is no specific treatment and effective anti-viral drugs yet to cure this disease. But there is a safe and effective vaccine that can prevent the infection.
  6. Treatment is focused on relieving severe clinical signs and supporting the patient to overcome the infection. People infected with JEV are administered rest, fluids, pain relievers and medication to reduce fever that may some symptoms.
  7. Preventive measures include - timely vaccination, avoid getting mosquito bites by using insect repellents and wearing proper clothing, keep the surrounding areas clean, eat hygienic food etc.

It's high time that we collectively make efforts to spread as much awareness as possible so that these 'human killers' stay miles away from us.

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