Modern medicine has done much to eradicate and cure disease, but it has failed in some areas. Of those areas, at least one disease that cannot be cured is suffered by many people in the world every year - the common cold.
The following is a list of the top ten incurable diseases.
Ebola is a virus of the family Filoviridae that is responsible for a severe and often fatal viral hemorrhagic fever; outbreaks in primates such as gorillas and chimpanzees as well as humans have been recorded. The disease is characterized by extreme fever, rash, and profuse hemorrhaging. In humans, fatality rates range from 50 to 90 percent.
The virus takes its name from the Ebola River in the northern Congo basin of central Africa, where it first emerged in 1976. Outbreaks that year in Zaire (now Congo [Kinshasa]) and The Sudan resulted in hundreds of deaths, as did another outbreak in Zaire in 1995. Ebola is closely related to the Marburg virus, which was discovered in 1967, and the two are the only members of the Filoviridae that cause epidemic human disease. A third related agent, called Ebola Reston, caused an epidemic in laboratory monkeys in Reston, Virginia, but apparently is not fatal to humans.
Polio is known in full as poliomyelitis - also called infantile paralysis. It is an acute viral infectious disease of the nervous system that usually begins with general symptoms such as fever, headache, nausea, fatigue, and muscle pains and spasms and is sometimes followed by a more serious and permanent paralysis of muscles in one or more limbs, the throat, or the chest. More than half of all cases of polio occur in children under the age of five. The paralysis so commonly associated with the disease actually affects fewer than 1 percent of persons infected by the poliovirus.
Between 5 and 10 percent of infected persons display only the general symptoms outlined above, and more than 90 percent show no signs of illness at all. For those infected by the poliovirus, there is no cure, and in the mid-20th century hundreds of thousands of children were struck by the disease every year. Since the 1960s, thanks to widespread use of polio vaccines, polio has been eliminated from most of the world, and it is now endemic only in several countries of Africa and South Asia. Approximately 1,000–2,000 children are still paralyzed by polio each year, most of them in India.
8. Lupus Erythematosus
Also often referred to simply as lupus, this is an autoimmune disorder that causes chronic inflammation in various parts of the body. Three main types of lupus are recognized—discoid, systemic, and drug-induced.
Discoid lupus affects only the skin and does not usually involve internal organs. The term discoid refers to a rash of distinct reddened patches covered with grayish brown scales that may appear on the face, neck, and scalp. In about 10 percent of people with discoid lupus, the disease will evolve into the more severe systemic form of the disorder.
Systemic lupus erythematosus is the most common form of the disease. It may affect virtually any organ or structure of the body, especially the skin, kidneys, joints, heart, gastrointestinal tract, brain, and serous membranes (membranous linings of organs, joints, and cavities of the body.) While systemic lupus can affect any area of the body, most people experience symptoms in only a few organs. The skin rash, if present, resembles that of discoid lupus. In general, no two people will have identical symptoms. The course of the disease is also variable and is marked by periods when the disease is active and by other periods when symptoms are not evident (remission).
Influenza, also known as the flu, or grippe, is an acute viral infection of the upper or lower respiratory tract that is marked by fever, chills, and a generalized feeling of weakness and pain in the muscles, together with varying degrees of soreness in the head and abdomen.
Influenza is caused by any of several strains of orthomyxoviruses, categorized as types A, B, and C. The three major types generally produce similar symptoms but are completely unrelated antigenically, so that infection with one type confers no immunity against the others. The A viruses cause the great influenza epidemics, and the B viruses cause smaller localized outbreaks; the C viruses are not important causes of disease in humans. Between pandemics, the viruses undergo constant, rapid evolution (a process called antigenic drift) in response to the pressures of human population immunity. Periodically, they undergo major evolutionary change by acquiring a new genome segment from another influenza virus (antigenic shift), effectively becoming a new subtype to which none, or very few, of the population is immune.
6. Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a rare fatal degenerative disease of the central nervous system. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease occurs throughout the world at an incidence of one person in a million; however, among certain populations, such as Libyan Jews, rates are somewhat higher. The disease commonly occurs in adults between the ages of 40 and 70, although some young adults have been stricken with the disease. Both men and women are affected equally. The onset of the disease is usually characterized by vague psychiatric or behavioral changes, which are followed within weeks or months by a progressive dementia that is often accompanied by abnormal vision and involuntary movements. There is no known cure for the disease, which is usually fatal within a year of the onset of symptoms.