At the beginning of the 20th century, worldwide life expectancy was less than 40 years of age. Today the world average stands at around 72. The single biggest reason for this miraculous leap in longevity has been our ability to cure diseases. Vaccines, antibiotics and advances in medical technology have changed the game. We are still in an arms race against many diseases, but we stand at a unique period in human history where it's possible to imagine a day when we have conquered disease.
Cures have been found for several of history's most feared diseases, and a few diseases have been eradicated. Here's our list of deadly diseases cured by modern science.
Editor's note: This slideshow has been updated with new information since it was originally published in August 2013.