Oxford’s Global Priorities Project has compiled a list of catastrophes—both natural and self-inflicted—that could kill off 10 percent or more of the human population. It’s a real buzzkill of a report and it says that any of these catastrophes could happen within the next five years.
The White House is asking Congress for $1.8 billion to combat the Zika virus, both within the United States and abroad. This request is a heartening sign that the Obama administration is taking Zika seriously—but don’t worry, it’s not a sign that the US is bracing itself for a local mass outbreak.
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are raising the alarm about a potential link between a mosquito-borne virus called Zika and a dramatic increase in Brazilian babies born with microcephaly—a rare condition that results in abnormally small heads.
The Apocalypse rules pop culture. Half the biggest literary novels these days are apocalyptic, and meanwhile The Walking Dead is a huge hit. Post-apocalyptic stories are what space opera was in the Space Age. But what are they about? Here are 10 types of apocalypses, and what they each signify.
Tonight's episode of Through the Wormhole asks a question near-and-dear to our hearts: Could a zombie apocalypse actually happen? We spoke to host Morgan Freeman and producer Megan Parlen to learn more.
In the wake of an experiment to see if a mutated form of the H5N1 bird flu could be made transmissible to humans, a pair of biologists are now speaking out about the potential risks posed by such endeavors; they say there's a much greater chance that these viruses could escape from the lab than we've been led to…
Though it was responsible for tens of millions of European deaths in the mid 14th century, the Medieval Black Death left a surprisingly positive consequence in its wake. According to a new study, surviving generations lived longer and had better health than ever before.
Over the past several weeks and months, we've seen a startling number of disease outbreaks pop up around the globe. It's a trend that's not completely surprising — one that could characterize the coming decades as the Age of Epidemics. Here are some of the scariest new diseases you need to know about.
DARPA is investigating handheld UV laser devices to help soldiers detect biological and chemical weapons from a safe distance. But when they master that technology, it won't just be used on the battlefield; it could also help public health workers detect and track outbreaks of communicable diseases. Fighting flu with…
A monster virus comes back from ancient times to wreak havoc on mankind. That may sound like a blurb from a science fiction novel, but as scientists have known for some time, it's not at all impossible. And thanks to the recent revival of a 30,000-year-old giant virus in Siberia, there's increasing concern that it…
An international team of researchers has discovered that two of the deadliest pandemics in history, the Plague of Justinian and the Black Plague, were caused by strains of the same plague. They warn that mutated — or even bioengineered — versions of the bacteria could lead to future outbreaks.
Scientists and health experts at the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control are constantly on guard against diseases that could sweep through the human population. Which pandemics are they most worried about, heading into 2014?
A highly-contagious form of fungus sometimes called Panama disease has devastated crops in Asia, and has now been found in Mozambique. It sounds like a joke, but this pandemic is deadly serious and could affect the world's fruit supply.
At the end of World War I, tens of millions of people died in just a few short years. But these deaths had nothing to do with the bullets and bayonets that had taken so many lives in battle. It was, instead, the Spanish Flu, which killed off about 5% of the world's population from 1918 until 1920. Were a similar…
For the first time in over 40 years, scientists have discovered a new form of the toxin responsible for botulism. But they’re keeping many of the details about it a secret for fear that it could be turned into a deadly bioweapon — prompting some scientists to warn that this action can only hold further research back.
The death toll from a new flu strain in China has now reached six. It's not known if the virus can be transmitted from person to person, but based on what the experts are saying, it’s a development that needs to be taken very seriously.
A devastating Salmonella epidemic is ravaging parts of sub-Saharan Africa right now — and it appears that HIV gave this rapidly evolving form of Salmonella a major boost. According to a new study, the African HIV epidemic appears to have provided this strain of Salmonella with a large number of humans with weakened…
We already know that the deadly H5N1 avian flu is only one stabilizing mutation away from being able to spread to humans. But as society nervously anticipates a potential pandemic, we get disturbing news that a different variant of the flu, the equally ominous H3N8, has successfully made the leap from birds to seals.
When you think about pants-wettingly terrifying apocalyptic scenarios, the most horrifying might well be the worldwide plague. A deadly disease could spread around the planet at alarming speed, and kill most of the population before we even knew what was going on. Luckily, some of the best novels (and graphic novels)…
Monkeys infected with the Ebola virus have been cured by a chemical cocktail administered 24 hours after the initial exposure. The breakthrough could eventually result in a similar human treatment for this disease, which kills up to 90% of those infected.