Diseases Caused by Viruses 

Viruses exist everywhere from the air, earth, to animal bodies. These tiny organisms have diameters that measure in nanometers. Quite a good number of viruses live in human bodies. Most viruses are harmless to the body because the immune system produces antibodies that work against the viruses seeking to destroy them.

A harmful virus could be opportunistic. This means that when the human immune system gets weak due to certain reasons, the virus takes advantage of the situation to become a pathogen. Sometimes the virus and the immune system often lie in a balanced system. For example, in the kidney lies the BK polyomavirus. It accounts for 80% of the virus population yet it is not the greatest cause of nephritis. At the same time, some viruses like AIDS, SARS, Hepatitis and Herpes Simplex can be deadly. So what are the common diseases caused by viruses.

Common Diseases Caused by Viruses

Viral infections spread easily because once one enters a human body cell, it destroys healthy cells and breeds into more infections. Here are the common diseases caused by viruses.



Common Colds

Common colds are the most seen diseases caused by viruses. Characterized by a runny nose, cough and sore throat, although harmless the common cold virus is caused by more than 200 viruses. This is an airborne infection and is transmitted through the nose and mouth.


This virus can be spread to another person in 48 hours. It affects millions of children across the world annually. Its symptoms include red rashes with blisters accompanied by fever, headaches, cough and loss of appetite. The virus affects the chest, face, scalp and back areas.


The influenza virus affects large populations annually. Characterized by fever, headaches, muscle aches and sore throat, it is spread through the air when infected people cough or sneeze. It also leads to vomiting, nausea and diarrhea.

Hemorrhagic Fever

This is a deadly virus that can cause internal and external bleeding. It affects the vital internal organs of a human body especially the liver, kidneys and lungs. Although it starts with muscle aches and fever, it later affects the vascular system of the body. Once it gets in, it can make the blood vessels porous causing the patients to bleed from under the skin, in the eyes and mouth, both internally and externally.


This enterovirus affects the protective cover around the spinal cord, brain and cerebrospinal fluid, i.e. the meninges. It affects the fluid surrounding the brain exposing it to the deadly meningitis caused by virus. It is a contagious disease, whose symptoms include high fever, neck stiffness, nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness.


The fatal illness caused is by HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). HIV has adverse symptoms that include fever, rash, headache, sore throat, fever, mouth and genital ulcers, swollen lymph glands, joint pain, fatigue, weight loss, and diarrhea. After about 10 years later, untreated HIV becomes AIDS and its symptoms include chronic diarrhea, cough and shortness of breath, headache, skin rashes, blurred vision, unexplained fatigue, shaking chills and soaking night sweats. This condition should be treated in its earliest HIV stages to hinder its progressive development to AIDS.

Viral Hepatitis

This inflammation of the liver is caused by 5 viruses namely, hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. It also results from other types of viral infections like the herpes simplex, yellow fever, Epstein-Barr and cytomegalovirus. Each of these has its own symptoms ranging from jaundice, low immunity and cirrhosis. It can be contracted through sexual contact and through blood. There are a variety of treatments available including antiviral vaccines.

Herpes Simplex

Caused by the sexually transmitted herpes simplex virus (HSV), it affects the genitals, mouth and face. The affected areas include the buttocks and anal areas. Newborn babies and people with lower immunity are more vulnerable to this virus. It comes in two types; the genital and oral virus. In some cases, it does not show any symptoms, but in other cases it is represented by itchy painful blisters. It is spread via direct contact and can be treated through medical treatment.


Characterized by cough, running nose, fever, inflamed eyes, and reddish skin rash, measles is caused a virus. Also referred to as rubeola, this disease is quite fatal in small children below 5 years. It is a children's infection that can be prevented by a vaccine.

Viral Gastroenteritis

Also known as the stomach flu, its signs include watery diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal crumbs, and fever. This is an intestinal infection spread through bodily contact and infected food or water. Like all other viral infections, it has no sure treatment hence preventive measures should be observed. Children, the aged, and lower immune persons are more susceptible to infection. Proper hand washing routine and food preparation hygiene are effective ways to prevent this disease.

Viral Pneumonia

The pneumonia virus affects the lungs causing them to swell and become irritated. Its symptoms feature coughs, shortness of breath, fever, and shaking chills. It also leads to loss of appetite, fatigue, low energy and a sharp stabbing chest pain. This inflammation is common in infants, HIV patients, cancer patients on chemotherapy treatment, organ transplant recipients and the aged who are vulnerable to infections. It is diagnosed by an X-ray, CT-scan and lung biopsy among other tests. It can be treated by antivirus medication, anti-inflammatory drugs and intake of fluids.

Yellow Fever

Common in sub-Saharan Africa and southern America, this tropical disease is caused by a mosquito transmitted virus. Its symptoms occur in stages including headache, muscle and joint aches, loss of appetite, vomiting, jaundice and fever. It leads to heart, kidney and liver failure, bleeding disorders, seizures and comas. It is diagnosed through a blood test and treatment is for the symptoms but no certain solution to yellow fever. It can be prevented by using a mosquito net and vaccination.


This is one of the fatal diseases caused by viruses, which is evolved from infected animal bites. Its symptoms include fever, headache, agitation, excessive saliva, hallucinations, partial paralysis, and hydrophobia. Immediate medical attention is necessary.