The Internet’s most horrible diseases

Yes, you’re dying. We’re all dying. But what, exactly are you dying of? That nagging cough, your marked indifference, what could they mean? Don’t bother running around the internet looking up your symptoms in an attempt at self diagnosis. We all know that, in the end, the internet is going to tell you you’ve got a horrible, incurable, communicable disease.

To that end, here I’ve gathered the internet’s most popular deadly diseases for your edumacation. And face it, chances are you’ll get one of these soon. Thanks to The Worst Case Scenario Internet Diagnosis for all the data.


How you get it: Contact with infected human brains, usually as part of the canibalistic funeral ritual of the Fore tribe in New Guinea or as a doctor treating someone with kuru.
Incubation period: 1 to 30 years
Early symptoms: Unsteady gait,slurred speech, marked feelings of indifference
Symptoms at full disease onset: Tremors, total loss of muscular control
Final outcome of this horrible disease: Incapacitation, coma, death within a year of onset


How you get it: Contact with infected person or other carrier. Due to the quick and destructive power of ebola, it’s believed that there is a yet undiscovered ebola resistant carrier animal that is responsible for the occasional outbreaks.
Incubation period: 3 weeks
Early symptoms: headache, weakness, and muscle aches
Symptoms at full disease onset: vomiting, abdominal maladies, throat and eye inflammation, bleeding from body openings
Final outcome of this horrible disease: Destruction of internal tissues through rapid viral replication, blood loses the ability to clot and you die from extreme internal hemorrhaging. To the outside world, it looks as though your insides have liquified and are pouring out your various holes.


How you get it: Bite of infected animal. Transmitted through saliva.
Incubation period: 21 to 120 days
Early symptoms: Mild depression and anxiety, soreness around bite.
Symptoms at full disease onset: Extreme thirst accompanied by acute fear of water. Constant state of terror and feelings of asphyxiation and claustrophobia.
Final outcome of this horrible disease: You feel as though you’re drowning in the thick, confining air around you. Your thirst is unquenchable, but even if it weren’t, your acute hydrophobia wouldn’t allow you to drink it. Death occurs within a few horrifically bad days due to convulsive seizure accompanied by respiratory failure.


How you get it: Bacteria enters body via puncture wound
Incubation period: 3 to 21 days
Early symptoms: Soreness in neck and jaw, heart rate fluctuations, low grade fever
Symptoms at full disease onset: Lockjaw, muscular spasms, sweating, utter fatigue from muscular contractions
Final outcome of this horrible disease: Severe muscular contractions cause the spinal column to twist and curve, eventually bending and snapping bones in the arms and legs. Death is caused by respiratory failure. Have you had your shots?


How you get it: Genetic; variant (Mad Cow) acquired by eating the brain or nervous tissue of an infected animal. Like Kuru, this is a prion disorder.
Incubation period: 1 to 30 years
Early symptoms: Confusion, involuntary muscle jerks, insomnia, impaired judgment, memory, and vision
Symptoms at full disease onset: Loss of muscular coordination, slurred speech, severe mental impairment.
Final outcome of this horrible disease: Systematic loss of brain function over the course of a year within onset of symptoms. Inability to control muscles, blindness, cognitive failure, coma, death.


How you get it: Contact with highly contagious airborne virus. Lock-down quarantine is common once a case is diagnosed.
Incubation period: 2 to 7 days
Early symptoms: Headache, chills, stiffness
Symptoms at full disease onset: High fever, shortness of breath, dry cough.
Final outcome of this horrible disease: Those early breathing difficulties progress into pneumonia and, in the end, you’ll slip into a coma and die rather abruptly of accute respiratory failure while your grief stricken family watches tearfully from outside your plastic bubble.

West Nile

How you get it: Mosquito bite, organ transplant
Incubation period: 3 to 15 days
Early symptoms: Headache, irritability, fatigue, rash
Symptoms at full disease onset: Confusion, swelling of the brain, tremors and weakness
Final outcome of this horrible disease: Encephalitis and meningitis are the most deadly features of this malady. Brain swelling causes convulsions and cognitive failure. Swelling of other nervous tissues cause muscular degeneration and severe pain. Either way, the outcome is coma and eventual death.

Necrotizing Fasciitis

How you get it: Contact between bacteria and abrasion or laceration in the skin
Incubation period: 24 hours
Early symptoms: Redness around skin abrasion, deep tissue soreness, diarrhea, nausea, fever, confusion, dizziness, weakness, and general malaise
Symptoms at full disease onset: Black blisters form in the skin and spread quickly. Within hours the blisters begin to appear on other parts of the body and eventually burst and ooze black fluid.
Final outcome of this horrible disease: Rapid degeneration of the body under the effects of the toxins released by the bacteria, causing severe nausea, deep tissue pain, unconsciousness, death.

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome

How you get it: Exposure to mice or rat droppings, nest, or contaminated dust, especially while cleaning in areas prone to mouse infestation.
Incubation period: 5-15 days
Early symptoms: Fever, headache, fatigue, general malaise
Symptoms at full disease onset: Coughing, shortness of breath, low blood pressure
Final outcome of this horrible disease: Lungs slowly fill with liquid as breathing becomes more and more labored. Panicked feelings of suffocation and constriction precede respiratory failure, death.

Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis

How you get it: Abnormal immune response to reactivated measles virus, usually within 2 to 10 years of recovery. Immune system turns its attention to healthy nervous tissues.
Incubation period: 2 to 10 years
Early symptoms: behavioral changes, memory loss, irritability
Symptoms at full disease onset: seizures, involuntary movements, and neurological deterioration
Final outcome of this horrible disease: Memory loss and irritability progress into encephalitis induced hallucinatory dementia. convulsions, blindness, and death.

Amoebic Meningoencephalitis

How you get it: Organism enters bloodstream through nasal passages while swimming, especially in stagnant, warm water. This amoeba has been found throughout the world.
Incubation period: 1 to 3 days
Early symptoms: Severe headache, fever
Symptoms at full disease onset: Convulsions, lethargy, cognitive failure
Final outcome of this horrible disease: After entering the bloodstream, this amoeba finds its way into the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal chord. Within a day or two, the brain and spinal fluid are overwhelmed by amoeba, causing meningitis, encephalitis, cognitive failure and convulsions. Coma and brain death follow within 72 hours. There is no treatment.

Cerebral Malaria

How you get it: Parasite passed through mosquito bite, especially frequent in children.
Incubation period: 7 days to 6 months
Early symptoms: generalised body ache, tiredness, headache, sore throat, diarrhea, and fever
Symptoms at full disease onset: Sudden onset of high swinging fever with marked shivering and dramatic perspiration
Final outcome of this horrible disease: In this form, the malaria parasite is able to pass from the bloodstream into the brain. As time passes and the parasite eats away at brain tissue, delirium, coma, and death are a certainty.

Pneumonic Plague

How you get it: Caused by the same bacteria that causes bubonic plaque, but rather than spreading through a flea bit, this form is results from inhalation of bacteria laden saliva. This is particularly horrible due to the growth of “bubos” in the lungs rather than on the skin.
Incubation period: 3 hours to 2 days
Early symptoms: fever, headache, weakness, and a bloody or watery cough
Symptoms at full disease onset: Trouble breathing, fever, chills, heavily flowing, bloody sputum
Final outcome of this horrible disease: Rapid progression from cough to bleeding lungs, usually within a few hours, toxic shock, death.

Bacteremia due to Burkholderia pseudomallei

How you get it: Skin abrasion making contact with contaminated soil, or via bio-terror attack.
Incubation period: 2 days to Many Years
Early symptoms: Fever, muscle aches
Symptoms at full disease onset: Chronic suppurative infections often develop with secondary abscesses in the skin, brain, lungs, myocardium, liver, spleen, bones, lymph nodes, or eyes
Final outcome of this horrible disease: The bacteria can lie dormant in the body for years. Or, if it finds conditions irresistible, it will begin a destructive rampage through your fragile body. After a brief period of general malaise, pus-filled lesions begin to form on the skin, in the joints, and eventually most major organs, including the brain. Septic shock and death soon follow as the lesions burst internally and seep into your bloodstream.

Bubonic Plague

How you get it: Close contact with an infected host. Fleas, cats, rats and squirrels are the most common hosts.
Incubation period: 2 to 6 days
Early symptoms: Fever, Chills, Sore throat, Headache, Weakness, Malaise, Nausea, Diarrhea, Gastrointestinal distress, Cough, Bloody sputum, Shortness of breath, Stiff neck
Symptoms at full disease onset: Gangrene and necrosis of areas such as the digits, penis. Bleeding from body openings, red circular lesions form on skin.
Final outcome of this horrible disease: The rosy lesions. “bubos,” that have gradually formed on the skin begin to necrotize, turning the skin black, especially in the extremities. Internal lesions become infectious pustules that seep into the bloodstream causing blood poisoning, or “septicemia,” and eventually death.

This is for entertainment purposes only, in case you were wondering. If you know of a horrifying disease that’s not covered here, please email tony with a link and a list of symptoms.