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Top 10 Diseases That Kill You Quickly

VO: Chris Masson
Script written by Joseph Jo Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise, but not when you're on a deathbed. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Diseases That Will Kill You Quickly. For this list, we're looking at those diseases that give human beings very little chance of survival because the time frame you have to live after which you contract them is so short. Special thanks to our user MikeyP for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by Joseph Jo

Top 10 Diseases That Will Kill You Quickly

Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise, but not when you’re on a deathbed. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 diseases that will kill you quickly.

For this list, we’re looking at those diseases that give human beings very little chance of survival because the time frame you have to live after which you contract them is so short. In other words, a bowl of chicken soup and months at the hospital won’t necessarily be enough to save you from the quick and painful deaths that these conditions bring on. Although you won’t drop dead in a heartbeat, in some cases,you might only have a few days left to arrange a farewell party.

#10: Chagas Disease [aka American trypanosomiasis]

Your last kiss might just be the kiss of death. This parasitic disease is transmitted through triatominae insects, also known as kissing bugs. As these buggers prowl during the night to feed on humans, they also take pleasure in defecating near bite wounds. This can turn into a horrible infection if the pests are infected with parasites called trypanosoma cruzi, which are excreted with their feces. Notably, the disease has different stages, and can be fatal at each stage: if you’re unlucky during the initial acute phase, which lasts for a few weeks to a few short months, your heart or brain may become infected by the parasites, causing death. If you only have mild symptoms though, then the chronic stage, which can occur many months or even years later, can lead to sudden death through cardiac or digestive system damage.

#9: Dengue Fever

Found in over 110 countries, dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease that is transmitted through the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is native to the tropic and subtropic regions. Normally, the virus isn’t deadly and the initial symptoms are similar to the flu, like high fever and headaches, so a healthy individual can recover in about a week’s time. However, for some, it can turn into the fatal condition known as severe dengue hemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome. This causes abdominal pain, bleeding in the stool, gums and nose, plasma leakage – and ultimately, death.

#8: Rabies

Every year, people get rabies after getting bitten by wild animals, which is why it's important not to be too friendly with the wildlife. While there are treatments to bring you around, time is not on your side when it comes to rabies infections. The incubation period can vary from a week to a year. But once the symptoms are noticeable - and if the virus has entered the nervous system - it can take less than ten days to kill a person, who may suffer from hallucinations, paralysis, insomnia, delirium until his or her death. It’s an agony no one should undergo.

#7: Cerebrovascular Disease [aka Stroke]

Also known as a brain attack, strokes occur when there is a lack of oxygen from the blood supply to the brain, which can cause severe damage. Globally, about 6 million people die every year from this disease. Some common signs leading to a stroke are weakness in body parts, loss of balance and vision impairment, though these vary depending on the subtype of stroke. While many have survived the effects of a stroke with only some form of disability, many others have been less fortunate and have died within minutes of the attack.

#6: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)

Called a “super-bug,” this bacterium has health experts scratching their heads. Also known as oxacillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or ORSA, it is the cause of multiple infections in our bodies, and is very difficult to treat because of its resistance to certain antibiotics. It can enter the body through the nose and through cuts, and the results stemming from their entrance can be tragic. It starts off as a mild skin infection, which is usually curable. However, some strains of community-associated MRSA may lead to severe illnesses… and then death. Meanwhile, some health threats that can appear, such as boils and pimple-like bumps, may require surgical drainage, while infections of vital organs may also occur that can ultimately lead to fatal illnesses.

#5: Cholera

Quenching your thirst on infected water can, in fact, dehydrate you to death –that is if you become infected with this small intestine disease. One can contract cholera in places with poor sanitation, which is where food and water have a high chance of being contaminated by human feces that contain the bacterium known as vibrio cholerae. If left untreated, a cholera infection can cause extremely painful symptoms, starting with watery diarrhea. It can also causes leg cramps, vomiting and shock – but it’s the severe cases of diarrhea that can lead to extreme dehydration in as little as 2 hours after infection. And then, a lack of treatment can kill the victim in a matter of hours. Because dehydration may cause blu-ish skin, cholera has been dubbed the “blue death.”

#4: Meningococcal Disease

Meningococcal disease is transmitted through saliva and sometimes though extremely close and lengthy contact with someone who already has it. Caused by the bacterium it is named for, the disease may lead to symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and joint pain, though they mostly depend on the type of specific infection that has been contracted. In severe cases, meningococcal disease can progress to meningococcal meningitis, which can lead to death - even if the infected person has taken antibiotics. Another fatal condition is meningococcal sepsis, where a body’s tissues and organs are shut down as a result of bacterial toxins and bloodstream poisoning. This condition has led to some survivors to amputate their limbs, while in the worst of cases, it has lead to death.

#3: Bubonic Plague

Likely the cause of the Black Death, the Bubonic Plague is estimated to have killed around 50 million people during medieval times. It’s hard to imagine another catastrophic event, but it’s more surprising to discover that the main source of the bacterium that causes the plague: the flea. Once bitten by an infected flea, the patient’s lymph nodes are affected. The infection can spread to the blood, known as septicemic plague, or to the lungs, called pneumonic plague, both of which can be lethal. Bubonic plague symptoms can appear within a week after exposure, and an infected person could die within 24 hours if not given antibiotics and proper care.

#2: Necrotizing Fasciitis [aka Flesh-Eating Disease]

Known in layman's terms as the “flesh-eating bacteria syndrome”, this is an infection by bacteria that can spread as quickly as wild fire throughout the body. Though it rarely spreads through physical contact, it is usually caused by organisms that already exist on our bodies. If that isn’t scary enough, the infected may experience flu-like symptoms, redness, blisters and fluid discharge within 24 hours. It is a rare skin infection, but with common sense, it can be treated with antibiotics and the speedy removal of the infected tissue. But if the bacteria are so deep in the tissue that early signs aren’t apparent and the infection isn’t treated in time, then death will be at one’s doorstep in very short order.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable, or in this case, dishonorable, mentions:

- Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

- Influenza A (H1N1) [aka Swine Flu]

#1: Ebola Virus Disease [aka Ebola]

This viral hemorrhagic fever, which is caused by ebolaviruses, has a mortality rate of 50% on average, though the risk of death can range between 25% to 90% of those who’ve contracted it. Spread through bodily fluids and items that may have been in contact with bodily fluids, ebola symptoms begin with a fever between 2 days and 3 weeks after exposure. Although strict measures to contain the virus have been put in place, especially as a result of several outbreaks in the latter half of the 20th century, ebola remains extremely contagious. This is evidenced by the fact that medical staff has contracted the disease all while wearing their protective gear. As of 2016, there are no vaccines to counter ebola, and its most extensive outbreak was just a few years prior: beginning in late 2013, the West African epidemic saw 11,315 succumb to the viral disease.

Do you agree with our list? What other deadly diseases do you hope not to get? For more grave lists of top 10s published every day, visit

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