A virus can be transmitted easily, across cities or go past national borders, wiping out millions that span over multiple continents rapidly.

Many global wars have been fought against virus pandemics in the past millennium and it may provide us with clues to fight our current battle against HIV/AIDS.

While the Zika virus may have garnered the most attention of any infectious disease this year, in truth the resulting deaths from the virus have been negligible, in comparison to the diseases covered here.

The most deadly viruses in history

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Measles (7th Century BC-1963):
-200 million deaths
-Thought to have begun from Fertile Crescent of the Middle East
-Transmission through coughing or sneezing
-Symptoms include: Fever, Rash, Cough, Sore throat, Red eyes

Plague of Justinian (541-750):
-25 million deaths
-Thought to have begun from China and Northeast India
-Transmitted through a bite from infected fleas and rats
-Symptoms include: Chills, fever, shiver, bubo, skin discoloration

Black Death (1340-1771):
-75 - 200 million deaths
-peaked in Europe between 1348 and 1350
-Thought to have begun in China
-Transmitted through a bite from infected flea or rodents
-Symptoms: Rash-like rings, bubo

Small pox (10,000 BC-1979):
-500+ million deaths
-Thought to have begun from Northeastern Africa
-Transmission through direct or prolonged face-to-face contact, or direct contact with infected bodily fluids or contaminated objects such as bedding or clothing
-Deadliest pandemic
-Highly contagious
-Rash-inducing infection
-Symptoms include: Fatigue, fever, headache, vomiting, diarrhoea and lesions

Spanish Flu (1918-1919):
-50 to 100 million deaths
-Thought to have begun from China
-Airborne transmission
-One of the quickest pandemics
-Symptoms include: Fatigue, fever, headache, skin discoloration, bleeding and vomiting

Typhus (430BC-Today):
- 4 million deaths and counting
- Thought to have begun from Spain
-Transmission through external parasites such as lice, fleas and ticks.
- One of the longest pandemics
-Symptoms include: Rash, fever, cough, headache, vomiting, nausea

Cholera (1817-Today):
-3 million deaths and counting
- Presumed to have begun from India
-Transmission through faecal-oral route; contaminated water or food
-Symptoms include: Diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, dehydration

Hong Kong Flu (1968-1969):
-1 million deaths
-Begun from China, spreading to Southeast Asia, Africa and South America
-Transmission directly from birds to humans
-Symptoms include: Red eye, fatigue, fever, cough

Third Pandemic (1855):
-12 million deaths
-Thought to have begun from China, spread to India
-Transmission through bite of fleas from an infected host, often a black rat
-Symptoms include: Fever, headache, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhoea, rash

Ebola (1976-Today):
-28,637 deaths
-Thought to have begun in Democratic Republic of Congo
-Transmission through direct contact with infected host via blood or bodily fluids or contaminated medical equipment
-Symptoms include: Fever, weakness, decreased appetite, muscular pain, joint pain, headache, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhaea, shortness of breath, chest pain
-Death through severe internal bleeding
-50-90% mortality rate

HIV/AIDS (1981-Today):
-25+ million and counting
-Thought to have begun in Democratic Republic of Congo
-Transmission through certain body fluids, via sex or sharing injection drug equipment with an affected person
-Symptoms include: Fever, chills, bubo and weight loss

Read more:
Infographic: A brief history of medicine across the centuries
Infographic: Unravelling the 4,000 year history of malaria
Infographic: Incoming president Trump’s best healthcare quotes, over two decades

Sources:
https://medicalinfographics.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/viruses-infographic/
https://www.good.is/infographics/infographic-the-deadliest-disease-outbreaks-in-history