What are top 10 deadliest animal diseases in the world?

What are top 10 deadliest animal diseases in the world?


AHSV (African horse sickness virus). AHSV is a close relative to Bluetongue virus, both of which are dsRNA arboviruses infecting livestock. 



AHSV primarily infects horses, causing the nasty respiratory and cardiac syndrome, with a fatality rate close to 90%. The disease can be spread via various blood-feeding insects including mosquitoes.

African swine fever virus


ASFV (African swine fever virus), which recently invaded China and posed a serious threat to the local meat industry. ASFV is a huge dsDNA virus-like poxviruses. 

ASFV is the only arbovirus belonging to the dsDNA family, which infects pigs through tick bites. However, it can also be transmitted via direct contact or consumption of infected meat scraps. 

ASFV is quite a badass, not only because it causes quite lethal haemorrhage diseases in pigs, with a mortality rate approaching 100%, but also the virus can persist in infected ticks and pigs for many years, and no vaccine is available, which poses a serious challenge to quarantine efforts.

aagsiekte sheep retrovirus

JSRV (Jaagsiekte sheep retrovirus), which causes cancers in sheep. Although quite a few cancer-causing viruses is infecting human such as HPV and hepatitis C, none of them is comparable to JSRV, which causes lung cancer and transmits through the air. 

The viral envelope proteins themselves can promote the host cell proliferation, and because JSRV is a retrovirus, it can potently transform infected cells (production of oncoproteins alone can't lead to transformation; to transform the cells you need to get the genetic code of that protein into the chromosomes so that every descendant carries its copy). 

As a result, the virus is responsible for over 70% of cancer cases in sheep. Another badass thing is that there is an endogenous ‘cousin’ lurking inside sheep’s chromosome, so that sheep develop no immune response against JSRV due to the immune tolerance!

Myxoma virus

Myxoma virus. Myxoma virus is a native virus of new world rabbits with a low mortality rate but is highly lethal (99%) in old-world rabbits. Although myxoma virus is transmitted via insect bites, it can't infect its vectors but is transmitted physically. Because European rabbits are endemic in Australia, the virus was imported to curtail the rabbit population.

Although the myxoma virus did a great job at curtailing the rabbits initially, its mortality rate declined gradually to 70% due to adaption between the virus and rabbits. To further consolidate the achievements, a second virus called rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV or RCV) was imported from China. RCV belongs to the same family of norovirus but is highly lethal to rabbits (>90%). Unlike the myxoma virus, RCV is transmitted via direct contact.

Canine distemper virus

Canine distemper virus (CDV), which infects dogs as well as wild animals under the fissipedia order. CDV is close relative to the measles virus infecting humans. It's as infectious as measles, but with a much higher mortality rate (80%). It affects multiple sites of animals’ bodies, which entails respiratory, alimentary, and central nervous systems.

It's so fortunate that none of these guys seems to be interested in humans. Although we have viruses like HIV and Ebola, none of them is easily transmitted. That's unlike the viruses mentioned above, which can spread via casual contacts or insect bites.


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