From the moment we’re born until well into our adult years, we’re constantly being told what we should be protecting our bodies from weird viruses. We’re told to get vaccinated, to use bug repellant, to stay away from certain countries, to remove ticks immediately, to use protection during intercourse, and why? Because we’re all afraid of dying from a weird virus, of course.
However, it is true that there are a lot of viruses out there we’ve never heard of and are oblivious to being scared of.
This is EXACTLY what we’re going to talk about today! Here are the top 10 weird viruses you’ve never heard of.
Top 10 Weird Viruses You Never Heard Of
Rotavirus is a rampant virus in children that causes the small intestine to release water into the gut causing diarrhoea, dehydration and more devastating symptoms. By age 5, almost all children have been infected at least once.
It’s pretty small and travels through the faecal-oral route. Even just a little bit of contamination will get you and as a result, all of your friends, too.
There are eight species, all very alike. The interesting thing is that every time you get it you become a little bit more immune, so it affects you less next time.
This isn’t one of those diseases that you get only in underdeveloped countries, either. It can travel in clean water supplies, which makes it easy to live and spread in developed countries.
The best way to prevent it? Vaccines! Not just injections either, in case you or your kids are afraid of needles. Oral vaccines are available, and they’ve resulted in a decrease of over 50% of cases.
9. Cytomegalo Virus
This is a S*xually Transmitted Infection which, though you’ve never heard of it, actually quite common!
Planned Parenthood said that about 80% of the U.S. population carries it and 4 in 10 Americans are infected before puberty.
Why? Teen s*x? No! Well, maybe, but also because it also spreads through saliva and other bodily fluids.
You can never get rid of it, either. So why isn’t everyone talking about it? Because it’s mostly symptomatic, sometimes showing up as a rash or a cold.
It doesn’t pose a risk for most unless you’re pregnant or have a compromised immune system.
If you do show more severe symptoms, they’ll probably be fever, pneumonia, diarrhoea, ulcers, hepatitis, encephalitis, behavioural changes, seizures, coma, visual impairment… but again, highly unlikely! You’ll probably just get mononucleosis at the very worst.
8. Henipa Virus
A three-in-one virus for you at number 8. This includes the Nipah Virus, Ceder Virus, and Hendra Virus, which are all prevalent in African, Asian, and Australian bats.
It’s caused outbreaks in Australian horse populations and fruit bats which, somehow, end up affecting humans as well.
Usually, it was contracted via the horses by the handlers, there’s not, like, a weird bat cult in Australia, though if there is, please tell us about it.
As a result of this virus, 45 horses and 7humans have died and now the notoriously strict Australian government vaccinates all horses against the Hendra virus to protect them and their handlers.
The Nipah strand is carried by a fruit bat in Asia and has been much more lethal, killing almost 300 people and affecting hundreds of thousands of livestock.
It has flu-like symptoms, which cause organ failure and has no vaccine. Fun fact: it was actually the inspiration for the virus in the movie Contagion.
So far, they’re not a great threat, but if human-to-human transmission happened, since we have no vaccine, we’d have a large problem on our hands.
7. Lymphogranuloma Venereum
Nope, this virus won’t make your pen floating mid-air above your wizardry book.
It will, actually, cause bumps, ulcers, fever, chills, muscle and joint pain, swollen glands and eventually, haemorrhoid growths, swelling of the reproductive organs and rectal ulcers that require surgery.
I know what you’re thinking. How, oh how, can I avoid this virus, Jim? Well, it’s a s*xually transmitted infection common in Central and South America, though not absent in North America, so watch out.
Use protection and if you do happen to get infected, worry not, go straight to your doctor and tell her to attack that sucker with antibiotics.
That’ll do the trick. Just make sure you do it between stages one and two when the symptoms are still somewhat tolerable.
6. Human T-cell Lymphotropic Virus
Another S*xually Transmitted Virus! This one is the same class as the HIV/AIDS virus endemic in places like Japan, the Caribbean, Central, and South America, West Africa and the southeastern U.S… why the Southeastern?
What are you guys doing over there? Ya know what, don’t answer that. You can transmit it via s*xual contact, exposure to contaminated blood, and breastfeeding.
As with HIV, no vaccines exist, nor any prospects for them are coming soon. After you contract the virus, it lives in your body for a really long time, not manifesting until later in life.
In severe cases, it causes neurological diseases, inflammation of the eyes and rheumatic syndromes.
Those all sound like great reasons to stay healthy, get tested regularly and protect yourself, am I right?
5. Intestinal Parasites
Parasites? You’ve heard of parasites, right? Well, not like this, you haven’t. These parasites are spread throughs*xual contact.
There are a wide variety of ways of getting these, but we’ll let you use your imagination on those.
But mainly it’s because of s*xual practices that involve getting up close and personal with someone’s… ehm.. backdoor.
As a result, you’ll find conditions like giardiasis, amebiasis, and cryptosporidiosis, that show symptoms as simple as pain to bloody diarrhoea and intestinal cysts.
This DNA virus was previously used as a vaccine to eradicate smallpox, which actually happened, so humanity 1- Vaccinia 0.
A man named Edward Jenner used a cowpox virus to vaccinate people against smallpox for 182 years until the disease was gone altogether.
Since they didn’t keep great records, we don’t really know how vaccinia originated and since its origin, the virus has changed from regular cowpox.
It was the first of the live virus vaccines to be used on people, so it’s modern, as far as medicine goes.
People show fever, rash, and among those who suffer from skin allergies or eczema, the disease can spread across the whole skin.
It can also go after your organs, cause skin lesions, ulceration, necrosis and encephalitis.
It’s not often used now except on US army personnel to prevent a bioterror attack involving smallpox.
Donovanosis is the unfortunate culprit behind, brace yourself, chronic genital ulcers.
Now, don’t worry, since antibiotics have been around, Donovanosis is pretty rare, which is probably why you haven’t heard of it.
However, Australia and South Africa have seen recent surges. Though the scariest parts may seem to be the genital symptoms, infections also affect areas on your face and chest.
All symptoms and types of the virus basically include ulcers of some kind.
Fleshy red ones, dry ones, foul-smelling ones with tissue damage, or dry ones with scar tissue. You’re welcome for the visuals.
2. Parainfluenza Virus
The Paraflu!I don’t think anyone actually calls it that. It’s mostly associated with swelling of the throat with a bark-like cough, is that not the most picturesque simile? Sometimes it also causes bronchitis and pneumonia.
This virus hardly ever takes lives, only truly affecting those with immune deficiencies, but children and the elderly often suffer from it, so it’s quite a burden on the healthcare system.
In the U.S. alone, the virus is said to cost $200M per year! Severe cases can be treated with a general antiviral called ribavirin, but hopefully, soon we’ll see a vaccine.
1. Ramsay Hunt Syndrome
The Ramsay Hunt Syndrome has one of the scariest faces of common nerve damage, literally.
It causes facial nerve paralysis. Half of the people who suffer from it don’t treatment in time, which can lead to permanent facial disability.
The fact is, the virus acts a whole lot like Bella’s Palsy, suffered by people like Angelina Jolie and George Clooney.
Part of the face drops and suddenly you can’t, smile, or blink. All of this happens within hours! With Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, unlike Bell’s Palsy, the cause is simple.
Shingles are the culprit, going after the facial nerve located in your cheek near your ear and jawline.
Though shingles sound like something people don’t get anymore, if you’ve had chickenpox, you can get shingles.
So what do you do? Get off WebMD and go to the doctor! They’ll prescribe the antivirals you need and a set of steroids to send you on your way to recovery.