Natural Hazards | Pestilence & Disease

Types of Disease

Only six diseases are responsible for nearly 90% of infection-related deaths among people under 44 years of age. These are:

  • AIDS
  • Malaria
  • Tuberculosis
  • Measles
  • Diarrhoeal Diseases
  • Respiratory Illness

Pestilence & Disease Hazard


42 million people are infected with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). Sub-Saharan Africa is the worst hit area, with an estimated 29.4 million people known to be carrying the virus. The HIV pandemic also affects eastern Europe and Asia. India has nearly 4 million people living with HIV and 1.2 million AIDS orphans. On average, the time between infection by the HIV virus and the development of AIDS is ten years. AIDS is characterised by the failure of the immune system, making those affected more likely to develop infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and cancers. These infections are the cause of death for 90% of those who contract AIDS.


Malaria is the second largest killer disease (after tuburculosis). Half a billion people suffer periodic attacks of Malaria and the disease kills an estimated 2 million people each year. More than 40% of the worlds population lives in high-risk areas, 90% of the malaria cases reported are in sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria is more prevelant in remote rural areas without clean drinking water or adequate health facilities.


Tuberculosis claims 3 million people a year. Approximately one third of the worlds population is infected. Ten million new active cases are reported each year. On average, one person dies from tuberculosis every 15 seconds. An added danger is the apparent alliance between TB bacillus (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) and HIV. HIV renders a TB carrier 30 times more likely to develop active TB. The World Health Organisation predicts that by 2020 nearly one billion people will be newly infected with TB.


There are 30 million cases of measles a year, nearly one million children die of measles a year.

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