While there are many common life-threatening diseases you probably already know about, chances are you’re unfamiliar with rare ones. A disease that’s considered rare means that it affects fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S. a year, according to the National Human Genome Research Institute, but that shouldn’t stop you from being cautious, because many of them can be deadly. That being said, the organization mentioned this includes close to 7,000 diseases. Clearly it’s worth narrowing things down a bit to better understand how to protect yourself. To help you get started, check out these five rare but deadly diseases.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tuberculosis is a contagious bacterial disease that usually affects the lungs. Once it enters into the system, it’s possible for the bacteria to be harmless, only causing an infection. However, if the body isn’t able to stop the bacteria from activating and multiplying, it can cause TB disease, which can be deadly if it’s not treated properly.
The CDC mentions the number of tuberculosis cases have decreased in recent years, but their still relatively high. The most recent data shows about 10.4 million people around the world had TB disease in 2015. During that same year, 1.8 million deaths were related to the condition. Be cautious — while it may be rare, the bacteria can be spread through airborne droplets, leading to symptoms like a cough that lasts for longer than three weeks, chest pain, and fever. Talk to your doctor if you think you may have TB.