Health officials have announced that the COVID019 outbreak has become a global pandemic which is the worst-case scenario for infectious diseases. Diseases existed for thousands of years, but in the modern age and medicine advances have managed to hold back most infectious disease outbreaks. What about global pandemics? Here’s a look at some of the worst pandemics in our history.
Black Death/Bubonic Plague(1347-1351)
The plague originated from rats before it started spreading to humans via infected fleas. The outbreak wiped out 30-50% of Europe’s population, and it took more than 200 years for the continent’s population to recover. The outbreak of the plague also ravaged Africa and Asia continent with an estimated death toll between 75-200 million people. The last major outbreak occurred in England, the disease killed approximately 100,000 people, 20% of London’s population.
Smallpox killed an estimated 90% of Native Americans, while in Europe during the 1800s, an estimated 400,000 people died due to smallpox annually. The first-ever vaccine was created to ward off smallpox. In 1980, the World Health Organisation certified the global eradication of the disease.
The Spanish Flu infected 500 million people around the world which resulted in the deaths of 40 to 50 million people. Unlike any other virus, the Spanish flu had an unusually high mortality rate for young adults. The flu killed more people in 25 weeks than AIDS did in its first 25 years.
Plague of Justinian(541-542)
The death toll of this plague is still under debate as new evidence is uncovered, but it was thought to have killed perhaps half the population of Europe. The outbreak that afflicted the Byzantine Empire, and Mediterranean port cities, killed up to 25 million people in a year.
HIV/AIDS(1981 – Present)
First discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976, the virus became a global pandemic which killed approximately 25-35 million people since 1981. At present, there are still between 31-35 million people infected with HIV. New treatments are still being developed that make HIV more manageable and allowing infected people to lead productive lives.
Known as the Plague of Gale brought to the Roman Empire by troops returning from the Near East. While the true cause remains undetermined, it killed a quarter of those infected and up 5 million in all. A second outbreak occurred which caused 2,000 deaths a day in Rome.
The Third Plague(1855)
Started in China and spread to India, where 12 million people died. During the pandemic, the United States faced its first outbreak. Today there are still isolated cases of the plague that can be found in the western United States.
Since it became widespread in the 19th century, it was estimated that tens of millions of people died from the Cholera outbreak. There were a series of documented outbreaks in the past 200 years with the most recent 2016-2020 Yemen Cholera outbreak.
First identified in China in late February 1957, it spread to Singapore, Hong Kong by April, and the United States by June 1957, which led to approximately 70,000 deaths in the US. The Asian Flu strain later evolved, which caused a milder pandemic from 1968 to 1969.
Hong Kong Flu(1968-1969)
The first record of the outbreak in Hong Kong appeared on 13 July 1968, it spread to Vietnam and Singapore, by the end of July 1968. In September 1968, the flu reached India, the Philippines, northern Australia and Europe. It became widespread in the United States until December 1968. In 1969 the flu would reach Japan, Africa and South America.
First detected in Mexico in early 2009, and spread to the United States in the same year. The Swine Flu killed around half a million people in the world, with around 700 million to 1.4 billion people contracted the illness. Subsequent cases of swine flu were reported in India in 2015 with over 30,000 thousands confirmed cases and over 1,800 deaths.Leave us your thoughts on the comment sections below. Head over to Jobstore.com and unveil your next job opportunity.
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