Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told Discovery News that "2015 was a very active year for protecting Americans." Indeed, there were plenty of crises and near-crises that threatened our health. Here's a sampling of six scares from 2015. In the meantime, the World Health Organization has already
issued a list of the top diseases on its watchlist
For the second year, Ebola dominated global health issues. At the CDC, over 4,000 staff members, or 20 percent of the staff, worked on curtailing the outbreak, Frieden said.
"The thing that is least well understood about Ebola is how close it became to a global catastrophe," Frieden said. "It could have been widespread in Africa for years, and it would have killed people not just from Ebola, but because health systems stop functioning."
In fact, in Guinea,
more people died of malaria than Ebola
, because the country's health care system was so overloaded with Ebola patients that people with other diseases couldn't get proper treatment.
"Ebola is an epidemic that not only kills but undermines others," Frieden said.
10 Things That Kill the Ebola Virus