Dangerous infectious diseases in figures

Many forms of infectious diseases occur worldwide. From the well-known malaria to the lesser-known filariasis. In the Netherlands, AIDS is often referred to as the biggest cause of death in Africa. However, the image of the danger of contracting certain infectious diseases is dictated by the media and frame of reference. The official figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that the risk of a dangerous infectious disease is different. Getting proper information before going on holiday is therefore not an unnecessary luxury. Mosquito repellents and vaccination against the extremely contagious hepatitis B are actually standard. Safe sex is another prevention that is not unwise. The official figures from the World Health Organization are brought together from many organizations. It appears that in some cases the registration leaves much to be desired. We must therefore be careful when interpreting the figures. But the figures clearly show the direction in which the most dangerous and most common infectious diseases are moving.


The best-known infectious disease, actually a collective name for many variants of viruses, is influenza. Better known as flu. Every year, 3 to 5 million people worldwide suffer from extremely severe flu symptoms with complications. This kills 250,000 to 500,000 people every year. It is striking that most deaths occur in industrialized, modern countries. It is mainly older patients who do not survive the flu. [1]


Hepatitis is feared and easier to contract than the dreaded AIDS. There are several variants of hepatitis.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious form caused by a virus. Yet this variant is rare. About 1.4 million new cases are reported each year. [2]
Hepatitis B is 100 times more contagious than AIDS and is caused by a virus. There are 2 billion carriers of this virus worldwide. That’s just under 1/3 of the world’s population. 240 million people contract it in a chronic form every year. Of these, 600,000 patients die from the acute or chronic variant. [3]
We know different genotypes of the viral hepatitis E. This very acute liver inflammation affects 3.4 million people worldwide. Of these, 70,000 patients die. {4]
Genotype 1 is mainly seen in developing countries. The genotype 3 is found in industrialized, modern countries. However, the latter does not cause major epidemics.


Meningococcal meningitis became a major epidemic in Africa in 1996. In 2009, new figures were announced by several countries in Africa. A total of 88,000 patients were reported probably with the coccal variant. 5,300 patients died that year, the largest number since the previous epidemic. [5]

Dengue fever

It is the mosquito species Aedes aegypti that is responsible for transmitting the dengue virus. Between 50 and 100 million new cases are reported every year. However, most are asymptomatic. However, 2.5 billion people are at immediate risk of contracting dengue. Particularly in the Western Pacific, North and South America and Southeast Asia. Collectively, the WHO member states reported 2.3 new patients in 2010. [6]


The latest figures are from March 2013. The mosquito-borne threadworm grows into a new threadworm in the lymphatic vessels. Worldwide there are 40 million people who suffer from serious health problems. In total there are around 120 million patients. A total of 1.4 billion people are directly threatened by this infectious disease. [7]


Cholera still occurs regularly on a large scale. There are between 3 and 5 million new patients every year. Of these, between 100,000 and 120,000 patients die. [8]


In 2011 alone, 8.7 million new TB patients were reported. Of these, 1.4 million people did not survive this pulmonary infectious disease. Yet there is good news to report here. The death rate fell by as much as 41% between 1990 and 2011. [9]

HIV aids

In 2011, there were 1.7 million deaths. There are now 34 million AIDS patients registered worldwide. The number of patients who have died since the outbreak in the late 1980s is now around 34 million, according to the GHO member states.[10]

Yellow fever

About 200,000 new cases of yellow fever occur each year. Of these, 30,000 patients die. This viral infectious disease is also spread by mosquitoes. 900 million people, mainly in Latin America and Africa, are at risk. [11]


Asia and Africa in particular are showing new patients. In 2011 alone, 219,000 new patients were reported. What is striking is that the number of cases has fallen from 21.1 to less than 1 per 10,000 inhabitants. A drop of more than 90% in prevalence. [12]


Malaria is becoming increasingly common in Europe, among other places. Because registration is not completely in order, it is estimated that between 154 and 289 million new cases of malaria will be reported in 2010. The number of people who died in 2010 from the consequences of ever contracting malaria is between 490,000 and 836,000. Since 2000, the risk of death has fallen by 25%. [13]

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