The Worst Epidemics In The History of Mankind

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We know the extent of the havoc these microscopical elements of nature can bring to human life. They have made us realize that their distinctly small size is no way connected to its nonpareil extent of creating a nuisance in human life.

Here are a few more instances when nature warned humans and made them tread their feet back-

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1. Plague of Athens: 430 B.C

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The Greek historian Thucydides (460-400 B.C.) wrote that “people in good health were all of a sudden attacked by violent heats in the head, and redness and inflammation in the eyes, the inward parts, such as the throat or tongue, becoming bloody and emitting an unnatural and fetid breath” . The core reason of the epidemic has been an issue of debate for years, possibilities including typhoid fever and ebola.

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2. Antonine Plague: A.D. 165-180

Many historians believe that the Antonine plague was first brought into the Roman Empire by soldiers returning home after a war against Parthia. The epidemic is believed to have killed over 5 million people in the Roman empire.

3. Plague of Cyprian: A.D. 250-271

Plague of Cyprian is estimated to have killed 5,000 people a day in Rome alone. In 2014, archaeologists in Luxor found what appears to be a mass burial site of plague victims.

4. Plague of Justinian: A.D. 541-542

The Byzantine Empire was left all into ruins by the bubonic plague, which reoccurred periodically afterward. Some estimates suggest that up to 10% of the world’s population died due to this epidemic.

5.  The Black Death: 1346-1353

The plague caused by a strain of the bacterium Yersinia pestis, and was spread by fleas on infected rodents.  It traveled from Asia to Europe, wiping out over half of Europe’s population.

6. Cocoliztli epidemic: 1545-1548

The DNA from the skeletons of victims found that they were infected with a subspecies of Salmonella known as S. paratyphi C, which causes enteric fever, a category of fever that includes typhoid. Enteric fever can cause high fever, dehydration, and gastrointestinal problems and is still a major health threat today.  The infection killed around 15 million inhabitants of Mexico and Central America.

7. Great Plague of London: 1665-1666

The epidemic started in April 1665 and transmitted through fleas from plague-infected rodents. By the time the plague ended, about 100,000 people, including 15% of the population of London, had died.

8. Philadelphia yellow fever epidemic: 1793

The disease is carried and transmitted by mosquitoes, who find hot and humid weather a favorable season for breeding. The epidemic was finally stopped in winters leaving more than 5,000 people dead.

9. American polio epidemic: 1916

The epidemic that started in New York City leads to 27,000 cases and 6,000 deaths in the United States. The disease mainly affects children and sometimes leaves survivors with permanent disabilities.  With no global eradication, vaccines have proved to be a shield against the disease.

10. Spanish Flu: 1918-1920

An estimated 500 million victims of Spanish flu of whom one-fifth died. The spread and lethality was increased due to the cramped conditions of soldiers and poor wartime nutrition during WW1.

11. AIDS pandemic and epidemic: 1981-present day

AIDS that has almost claimed 35 million lives is likely to have developed from a chimpanzee virus that transferred to humans in West Africa in the 1920s. HIV, which is the virus that causes AIDS, made its way around the world victimizing a portion of the human race.

12. H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic: 2009-2010

The 2009 swine flu pandemic, caused by a new strain of H1N1,  originated in Mexico in the spring of 2009 and spread to the rest of the world. In one year, the virus-infected as many as 1.4 billion people and killed between 151,700 and 575,400 people.

13. West African Ebola epidemic: 2014-2016

Ebola that initiated in West Africa between 2014 and 2016, had 28,600 reported cases and 11,325 deaths. The first case to be reported was in Guinea in December 2013, and then quickly spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone. There has been no cure yet to be found for the disease.

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