I have the following medical question: can anyone help me find a pair of real-life diseases one of which is lethal (it's good enough if it's lethal only for old people) and another isn't such that they are easy to confuse with each other to a silly layman in some way (similar-sounding i guess?) ? The setting is modern realistic-ish so lethality should be according to modern medicine.
It doesn't have to be a disease though, just a condition that guarantees kicking the bucket [if you're old] in a couple of days is good enough too. Like if you could mishear "heart attack" instead of "regular cold" because they sound alike or something, you know.
Edit: After reading all the wonderful helpful comments I realized that I should have perhaps clarified a bit more. The situation that I'm trying to create is that one person (who is pretty much a total dummy) misinterprets what doctors tell her about another old person's condition and concludes that they're about to die when that's far from truth and the old person is definitely gonna live. The working version is that she simply mishears or interprets the words the doctors say wrongly (so viral and bacterial meningitis someone suggested are a very good fit because even if you google it in a rush you could easily read about the wrong one and not care further). However other ways of getting a wrong idea about the condition of the old person that would result in the similar situation are also considerable.
An unrelated bonus question: do any of you know any specifically "journo" terms or slang that are mostly used by journalists giving a chance to identify one by using them?
Thanks for any suggestions!