Special Report

How COVID Fatality Rates Compare With Other Deadly Diseases

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Dengue haemorrhagic fever
> Case fatality rate (untreated/unvaccinated): 20%

Dengue haemorrhagic fever is a viral infection transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. It occurs in tropical and subtropical regions, most commonly in Southeast Asia, the western Pacific islands, Latin America, and Africa. Mild dengue fever causes a high fever and flu-like symptoms, while the severe form can lead to serious bleeding, a sudden drop in blood pressure, and death.

There is no specific treatment for dengue, but early detection and access to proper medical care lowers fatality rates of severe dengue to below 1%, according to the WHO.

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Asian lineage avian influenza A (H7N9)
> Case fatality rate (untreated/unvaccinated): 20%-40%

Asian lineage avian influenza A (H7N9) is the North American strain of virus that is circulated by wild birds. It also is known as bird flu. It was first detected in China in 2013.

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Japanese encephalitis
> Case fatality rate (untreated/unvaccinated): <30%

Japanese encephalitis is caused by a virus spread by infected mosquitoes in Asia and the western Pacific. It’s one of several mosquito-transmitted viruses that can cause brain inflammation. Most people infected with JE have no symptoms or mild ones. However, a small percentage of infected people develop inflammation of the brain, with symptoms including high fever, coma, tremors, and convulsions. About one in four cases are fatal, according to the CDC.

There is no specific treatment, but a vaccine is recommended to people travelling to places where JE is endemic.

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Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)
> Case fatality rate (untreated/unvaccinated): 34%

Middle East respiratory syndrome is a viral respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus, first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012. MERS symptoms range from from no symptoms to mild respiratory symptoms to severe acute respiratory disease and death. The WHO estimates 35% of patients with the disease have died.

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Tularemia (rabbit fever)
> Case fatality rate (untreated/unvaccinated): 30%-60%

Tularemia, also known as rabbit fever, is a rare infectious disease that attacks the skin, eyes, lymph nodes, and lungs. It is caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. It mostly afflicts rabbits, hares, and rodents, but can also infect birds, sheep, and domestic animals such as dogs, cats, and hamsters. It is spread to humans through insect bites and exposure to an infected animal.

Different forms of tularemia may have different symptoms. Though the disease can be difficult to diagnose, it can be effectively treated with specific antibiotics.

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