Special Report

How COVID Fatality Rates Compare With Other Deadly Diseases

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Varicella (chickenpox)
> Case fatality rate (untreated/unvaccinated): <0.02%

Chickenpox is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which produces an itchy rash with blisters filled with fluid. It’s very contagious to people who haven’t had the disease or been vaccinated against it. Chickenpox can spread through direct contact with the rash or if a person with the disease coughs or sneezes and you inhale the air droplets.

H1N1 influenza (swine flu)
> Case fatality rate (untreated/unvaccinated): <1%

The H1N1 flu, also known as swine flu, is primarily caused by the (H1N1)pdm09 strain of the influenza A virus. The strain was first identified in 2009 and caused the swine flu pandemic of 2009-2010. From April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010, the CDC estimates there were 60.8 million cases and 12,469 deaths in the U.S. It is one of several flu strains that can cause seasonal flu. The flu vaccine protects against H1N1.

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Mumps encephalitis
> Case fatality rate (untreated/unvaccinated): <1%

Mumps is a condition caused by a paramyxovirus that mostly affects the saliva-producing glands near a person’s ears. Mumps can cause swelling in one or both of these glands. Mumps cases are not so common in the U.S., but when outbreaks occur, they happen near close-contact locations like college campuses. Most cases are resolved within 10 days. The mumps vaccine is part of the series of recommended childhood vaccinations in the U.S.

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Hepatitis B
> Case fatality rate (untreated/unvaccinated): 0.1%

Hepatitis B is a contagious liver disease triggered by the hepatitis B virus. Infected persons can develop a short-term infection, experiencing a mild illness with few or no symptoms or a more serious illness requiring hospitalization. Symptoms include loss of appetite, fatigue, pain in muscles and joints, nausea and diarrhea, and vomiting.

For others, the infection becomes chronic and can lead to serious health problems, possibly even liver cancer. Hepatitis B is part of the recommended childhood immunization schedule.

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Hepatitis A
> Case fatality rate (untreated/unvaccinated): 0.3%-2.7%

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It causes inflammation and affects liver function. Symptoms include loss of appetite, fatigue, low-grade fever, pain in muscles and joints, nausea and diarrhea, and vomiting. Most people get hepatitis A from tainted water or food, so practicing proper hygiene is recommended to reduce the chances of getting hepatitis A. Vaccines are available for travelers or as part of childhood vaccinations.

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