Yellow fever

What is it? Yellow fever is a mosquito-transmitted disease that attacks the liver and can be severe, even fatal. It has been a notorious scourge for centuries that once caused major epidemics in southern Europe and the United States, including one that killed almost 10% of the population in Philadelphia, then the U.S. capital, in […]

Pandemic influenza

What is it? Influenza, or the flu, is a virus disease that can range from very mild to deadly. Flu outbreaks happen around the world every year. But every once in a while, there is a pandemic, a worldwide epidemic that can cause large numbers of deaths. Pandemics, which occurred three times in the 20th […]


What is it? Malaria, a mosquito-born parasitic disease, is one of the world’s major killers. More than 212 million people had malaria in 2015, according to World Health Organization estimates, and 429,000 died. More than 90% of malaria deaths occur in Africa, and most are children under 5. Four different species of microscopic malaria parasites […]

Hepatitis B & C

What is it? Hepatitis B and C are two virus diseases of the liver that together kill an estimated 1.5 million people annually, a number comparable with HIV/Aids and tuberculosis. Hepatitis has generally received less attention, however, in part because it is less visible and because it kills slowly, over a period of many years, […]


What is it? – Ebola, also called Ebola virus disease (EVD), is a very dangerous infection caused by a so-called filovirus. It was first discovered during an outbreak in 1976 in Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and named after a river near the place of the outbreak. Filoviruses get their name from […]