2016: Year of dangerous diseases emerging worldwide

May 3, 2016

We live in an increasingly polluted world. Rapidly increasing populations, flaring pollution levels, poor standards of living, and an increasing incidence of lifestyle diseases led to the development of new diseases that jumped from animals to humans.

Highly contagious conditions like SARS, Avian Influenza, Ebola, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV,) and Zika popped up in problem, low-income areas. Most of these conditions spread virulently across the world and resulted in a high death rate worldwide. Most countries were caught off-guard and so were scientists.

If you are planning to travel this year, it would be a good idea to keep yourself updated about the latest diseases that could endanger your life. Here are a few of the most dangerous diseases that are currently prevalent.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

Although MERS was discovered in 2012, the disease has now spread to more than 21 countries worldwide including Turkey, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, UAE, Yemen, Jordan, Qatar, Indonesia, Austria, South Korea, United States, Mainland China, and Thailand. A Riyadh University study confirmed that the disease arose sometime from July 2007 to July 2012. The virus causes distinct flu-like symptoms including fever, cough, and breathlessness. The disease may progress to pneumonia and a few patients have also reported diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Approximately 36% of affected patients have died and there is no vaccine or specific treatment for the condition.


This is one of the most interesting and virulently dangerous diseases that has emerged internationally. The recent outbreaks of Ebola spread from Africa to North America and resulted in an international quarantine of Africa and a worldwide panic. The scariest aspect of the disease was that almost 90% of affected patients died due to both internal and external bleeding.


Most people were aware of mosquito-related conditions like malaria, chikungunya and dengue. However, a new virus-based condition called Zika has now emerged in Brazil and Panama. Almost 95 cases have been confirmed in both countries and women in the 25-34 age group were the most affected. One of the most horrifying effects of the condition were infected mothers giving birth to microcephalic ( small or underdeveloped head) babies.

Avian Influenza

Avian influenza or bird flu is one of the most dangerous diseases doing the rounds of the world at present. Not much is known about the condition but it is characterized by rapid deterioration in patient health and a high fatality rate. Initial symptoms include high fevers, cough, sore throat, diarrhea, abdominal pain, chest pain, bleeding nose and gums, and vomiting. Antiviral treatment given as soon as possible is vital to patient survival.

The Bottom Line

The year 2015 was a landmark year for diseases. But 2016 is expected to be worse. Most current diseases do not have any set treatment or medication and the pharmaceutical industry is scrambling to catch up with new medications. Our best option is prevention. Regular medical check-ups are a must for all people who travel frequently. Keep a close eye on your health and make sure you check any symptoms that persists for more than one week.


Dr Hazel Menezes Archives:



By Dr Hazel Menezes
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Comment on this article

  • Ravi Raj, Mysoru

    Thu, May 05 2016

    Chikungunya is not something to be taken lightly. 

  • Vincent Rodrigues, Frazer Town,B'lore

    Wed, May 04 2016

    Quite dangerous news indeed.We all need to take preventive steps to safe guard our health.

  • Sanjay Shetty, Vamanjoor

    Tue, May 03 2016

    Ebola was scary. I saw the news. We are not that far off from Africa. So many students coming from Middle East and Africa to colleges in Udipi, Manipal, and Nitte. One person being sick is more than enough. And mangalore airport does not have scanners for sick and infected people. Just be careful.

  • Renita Pinto, Kuwait

    Tue, May 03 2016

    Yes thats true. Pharma companies will say anything to sell drugs. But if you and I fall sick with something serious like this, we will be first in line at the pharma company screaming for new medicines :) :)

  • Raman S, Kuwait

    Tue, May 03 2016

    You'll be surprised at just how common Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus...Ask anyone in Hamad General Hospital.... We think because its hot there, no bacteria will cause frequent infections but that area has more viruses than any other place. Just ask...you find resistant TB, HIV...any almost anything..

  • Fr.Vincent D'Souza, Bela-Kasargod

    Tue, May 03 2016

    Thanks Dr.Hazel for the good article, it gives lot of information.

  • Johm Pinto, Kudla

    Tue, May 03 2016

    Yes, but ebola is under control now. And even the simplest diseases like pneumonia can be dangerous if you dont take care of it correctly.

  • Rati Kandekar, Mumbai

    Tue, May 03 2016

    good article.

  • Patricia Khanna, Mumbai

    Tue, May 03 2016

    yes, this is good advice. Specially when we travel so much. being aware of diseases is a good way to prevent falling sick.

  • John DSouza, Mangaluru

    Tue, May 03 2016

    Thank you Dr Hazel for your cooling article to the boiling temperatures.

    Almighty God, the creator and controller of generations, trims or expands the volume of population as adequate and appropriate as needed.

    As Gandhiji has said, we certainly have enough resources to satisfy our basic needs but we all suffer due to the greed of a few.

    If we change our mindset, we can generate considerable volume of free and clean energy instead of lavishly spending on imported fuel, to burn the economy, pollute air, disturb peace and to face several severe problems like unemployment, health and poverty.

    Our ancestors with premitve technology, did manage to provide basic transport facilities to the general public.

    Today, the public commute by standing and hanging, irrespective of modern advanced technology and in spite of massive vehicle units on roads.

    Roads are filled with tiny vehicles, due to the greed of automakers and ego of owners, by making neither the traffic to move nor they provide basic transport facilities, to meet the increasing transport demand.

    If we really realize, accept and correct the silly error that we have been carrying and moving the bullock cart (the cart of commuters and goods) on wheels since a couple of centuries, we can see a World of Difference with a Revolutionary Change in the Surface Transport Sector.

    If we think different and implement change, we can have incredible solutions with amazing benefits.

    Otherwise, though the "Health is Wealth" we have to shed the "Wealth for Health".

  • R Mallar, Kasaragod/ Dubai

    Tue, May 03 2016

    There is a widespread apprehension that pharmaceutical companies promote/ hype some of these new age diseases. Is that true?

  • Antony Cony, Karkala / Qatar

    Tue, May 03 2016

    Dr. Hezel, it is a comprehensive, well-written, precise, accurate article does creates awareness in the society and serves as a precautionary measure for better health. Keep Writing.

  • Mohen K. Alva, Mangalure

    Tue, May 03 2016

    Very informative. Regular s has to be the order of the day lest diseases will spread faster due to ignorance.

  • Pandu Goppu, Moodabidre

    Tue, May 03 2016

    Dear Dr. Hezel, Well done. Reminders always serves the purpose if they do not ignore the reminders.

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Tue, May 03 2016

    Is telling lies also a DISEASE ...

  • Shashi Shetty, Santhoor

    Tue, May 03 2016

    It is the natures way of balancing. When human in name of God reckless breeding Nature finds its way of correction . Unless human realise planet is most important and we give importance to leave a better nature for our future generation we may lead ourselves to extinction.

  • Sachidanand Shetty, Mundkur/Dubai

    Tue, May 03 2016

    Dear Madam….as a Doctor by profession your advice for all travelers is OK but this kind of mass diseases are not uncommon if you read the history books. Take the example of chikungunya virus…..many people might have seen that kind of diseases in earlier occasions too but it was blown out of proportions by media few years back

  • arm, ksa

    Tue, May 03 2016

    Karma. Jaise Karni wasi Bharni.

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