The world’s deadliest virus
Which one poses the greatest threat?
- By: Shannon Plaxton
In recent years, viruses have been emerging as if from nowhere. At least, that’s how it seems. Media reports on outbreaks of killer viruses like SARS, swine flu, and West Nile virus have raised international fear. Currently, the virus dominating news headlines is a new strain of bird flu (H7N9) in China. Detected last March, the virus transmits easily from birds to humans, killing about one in five people it infects. “This is an unusually dangerous virus for humans,” a World Health Organization official stated during a press conference held at the end of April in Beijing. “Definitely one of the most lethal influenza viruses that we’ve seen so far.”
Other current fears centre around a novel coronavirus (NCoV), a SARS-like virus that has killed about 20 people since 2012. News organisations have been closely watching the creeping count of cases and deaths. Our fear of viruses is clear: which