Scientists and medical researchers are arguing about the precise definition of “pandemic,” but they can agree on one point. When pandemics happen they bring about lots of pain and even death. There have been more than normal instances of illness for many centuries. Influenza smallpox, bubonic plague, and cholera have been regarded in history as the most deadly killers. We look at 20 of the most deadly pandemics that struck the globe.
1. In the time of the epidemic (3000 BC)
About 5,000 years ago, the prehistoric Chinese village was destroyed through an epidemic. The number of deaths was so great that dead bodies were often dumped inside homes and then burned until they fell to earth. The skeletons discovered inside the houses, it’s obvious that the epidemic afflicted all ages, from infants to people in middle age. Hamin Mangha, the archaeological site in which the remains were found is one of the most well-kept sites across the world. Anthropological and archeological studies reveal that the outbreak was quick and severe and that people were not able to properly dispose of the dead. The town was left uninhabited after the outbreak till it was found.
2. Plague of Athens (430 BC)
The Athenian Plague raged in Athens for five years starting about 430 BC. C. just after the conflict that fought between Sparta and Athens started. According to Thucydides the Greek historian the healthy would be subject to rapid assaults that included “violent hot flashes in the head” and swelling of the throat, tongue, and eyes. They also exude the “unnatural and fetid breath” and become bloody. Experts have debated for a long time the cause and nature of this Plague of Athens. Some believe it could be Ebola however, others believe that it was caused by Typhoid. Whatever the case the estimates have put the death toll of the pandemic to more than 100,000.
3. Plague of Antoninus (165 to 180 AD)
The soldiers returning back to the Roman Empire after their combat mission were met with a grueling surprise The Antonine Plague. The disease, which some experts believe to be smallpox, claimed the lives of more than 5 million civilians and devastated its Roman army. It was one of the major factors in the demise of the Roman peace period, the time that Rome was at its peak of power from 27 B.C. C. to 180. C. It led to instability within the Empire and left Rome weaker against the invasions of barbarians.
4. Plague of Cyprian (250 to 271 AD)
Similar to its predecessor similar to it was the Plague of Cyprian was named after an individual that was, at this point, a Bishop of Carthage called Saint Cyprian. San Cipriano stands out for saying that the outbreak was the beginning of that the beginning of the end for the human race. While his prediction was incorrect, the disease was extremely destructive that caused over 5 000 deaths per day in Rome. Archaeologists have discovered the mass burial location at Luxor in 2014 which is believed to be dedicated to those who died from the Plague of Cyprian. There is no consensus on the cause, but Cyprian stated that the symptoms were the intestines relaxing into the form of a “steady stream” and people suffering from violent discharges of the body and mouth sores. The deceased were buried with lime, and the lime was used to disinfect the body.
5. Plague of Justinian (541 to 542 AD)
The bubonic plague also circulated under the name of the Justinian plague from 541 to 542 AD. Its name is in honor of Justinian who was the Byzantine Emperor. It also marked the start of a decline for the empire. According to certain estimations, the plague killed approximately 10% of the world’s population. It is believed to be the first documented bubonic disease to be recorded. It killed about 25 percent of the people living in the eastern Mediterranean and during its peak caused 5 000 deaths per day within the town of Constantinople. At the end of the day, the city has been decimated by more than 40% of the city’s inhabitants.
6. The Black Death (1346 to 1353)
The “original” Black Death spread from Asia to Europe in 1346 and caused numerous deaths and destruction that followed. Some estimates suggest that the disease claimed the lives of more than half of the European population and had an estimated death toll of between 75 and 200 million. The cause was Yersinia pestis, the bacterial strain that is believed to have been carried through fleas that came from rodents infected. The strain is believed to be extinct by today. Like previous outbreaks of the Great Plague of London, those who died from the Black Death were buried in mass graves. The disease, though tragic, is believed to have led to the development of new technologies and increased access to food.
7. Epidemic of Cocoliztli (1545 to 1548)
The cocoliztli epidemic was a kind of hemorrhagic fever that claimed the lives of around 15 million across Central America and Mexico. The population was already significantly weakened by the drought and then the outbreak caused more harm. The death toll was among the most high in the time, and the Cocoliztli outbreak lasted through three whole years.
8. American diseases (16th century)
The American plagues of the 16th century were an outbreak of Eurasian diseases introduced in the Americas by European explorations. The illnesses were smallpox-related and caused great harm to Aztecs as well as Inca civilizations already throughout the Americas. Actually, they’re thought to have affected the population so 90% of the indigenous population died due to illness directly or both Spanish invasions which were the result. In the aftermath, Inca as well as the Aztec forces were infected by a disease that they couldn’t fight.
9. Great Plague of London (1665 to 1666)
The bubonic disease made its first appearance on the pandemic scene during the 14th century, dubbed The Black Death, then it returned with the name of the Great Plague of London in 1665. The second was the second time that History.com reports, that it destroyed nearly 20% of the population of London. In actual fact, there were numerous people killed that mass graves were regular and thousands of animals and cats were slaughtered due to the belief that they be the cause of the disease. In 1666, the Great Plague of London finally ended in 1666. According to the CDC, the bubonic plague still presents in some regions of Asia and Africa. The good news is that modern medicine has enabled treatment.
10. Great Plague of Marseilles (1720 to 1723)
It is believed it was the case that the Great Plague of Marseille entered the city via the Grand Saint-Antoine ship. Even though it was quarantined when it arrived in France The plague was believed to have spread throughout the city by way of fleas that were that were carried by infected rodents. The disease killed more than 100,000 people in the following three years and is believed to have killed the population by up to 30 percent. Marseille’s population.
11. Russian plague (1770 from 1770 to 1770 until)
The Russian plague had devastating consequences on the political and social structure of Moscow. The city was ravaged by terror-fueled chaos. The violence was so widespread the city was ravaged by violence that Catherine the Great demanded that all factories be removed away from the city. In the endof the year, more than 100,000 people had perished.
12. Philadelphia Yellow Fever epidemic (1793)
The yellow fever epidemic swept through Philadelphia in 1793, which was the capital city of the United States. It was caused through mosquitoes which were multiplying in number in Philadelphia during that time due to the extremely humid and hot weather. While the mosquitoes eventually died during the winter, and the epidemic was halted, however, it already claimed over five thousand lives.
13. American polio epidemic (1916)
The American polio outbreak began in New York City and caused more than 6,000 deaths as well as 27,000 infections across the country. The majority of children who contract polio are not vaccinated and leave those who survive with life-long disabilities that can last for a lifetime. Before the development of the Salk vaccine in 1954, the disease was seen frequently across the United States. Since then, the number of cases has declined; the last instance in the US was discovered in 1979. This is mostly due to widespread immunization.
14. Spanish flu (1918 to 1920)
Spanish virus was believed to have been the very first pandemic of influenza that struck the world during the latter half of the century. It first began spreading from 1918 to 1919. It was brought on by an H1NI-related virus that had Avian roots. While historians and scientists don’t know exactly where the Spanish flu virus came from but they do agree that this was by far the most destructive out of all three. It infected over 500 million individuals in the estimation of the CDC which ultimately resulted in the deaths of over 50 million around the world. The death number in the US was estimated at 675,000. Additionally, many of the infections took place within regions like the North Pole and South Seas which almost drove indigenous peoples to extinction.
15. Asian Flu (1957 to 1958)
The Asian flu that we’ve mentioned is believed to have triggered the 1968 flu pandemic as well as originating from China. It led to greater than 1.1 deaths across the globe and more than 116,000 people in the US and was caused by a mixture of the bird flu virus. According to CDC the flu was rapidly spreading, beginning in Singapore at the beginning of February 1957. Then, it appeared and then in Hong Kong in April of the same year, as well as in the US coastal cities in the summer.
16. Pandemic flu (1968)
Also called The Hong Kong flu, the 1918 flu pandemic was first reported in China. According to Encyclopedia Britannica (the first case was reported in the United States in July of 1968, and it was brought on by the H3N2 the flu A virus. This was the third to occur during the 20th century. It caused the deaths of 1 million people in the It caused over 100,000 deaths across US Scientists believe that the 1957 Asian flu epidemic was responsible for the strain of 1968 through the shift in antigens. This is the reason you cannot catch the flu more than once.
17. AIDS pandemic (1981 until present)
Since it was first recognized, AIDS has caused more than 35 million deaths in the world. The disease originates from HIV which is thought to originate from a chimpanzee-like virus located in West Africa that crossed over to humans in the 1920s. At the close of the twenty-first century AIDS has spread across the globe and killed enough people to be classified as an epidemic. The WHO states that approximately 79.3 million people across the world are infected with HIV since the beginning of the epidemic and that another 36.6 million have passed away. By the end of the year, 2020 37.7 million were said to be suffering from the virus. According to government statistics, the HIV-positive number for Americans is as high as 1.1 million. While there isn’t a cure for HIV/AIDS
18. H1N1 swine influenza (2009 until 2010)
The 2009 pandemic of swine flu was brought on by a brand new H1N1 strain, which originated in Mexico. The outbreak began in Mexico and quickly expanded to the rest of the world, causing over 1.4 billion infections across the world in a single year. In total, the epidemic caused between 151,700 to 575,400 deaths and primarily affected children and young adults. This was an unprecedented event because the majority of flu strains are responsible for more deaths in people aged who are 65 or older. Presently, a vaccine for the H1NI1 virus is available. H1NI1 virus is part of every year’s flu shots.
19. Ebola epidemic in West Africa (2014 to 2016)
In the period between 2014 and 2016 28600 incidents of Ebola were recorded throughout West Africa, along with 11325 deaths. The first Ebola case was discovered at the end of December 2013, from Guinea before the outbreak quickly spread into Sierra Leone and Liberia. The majority of cases were found in the three countries, however, there were cases in Europe as well as including the US, Senegal, Mali, and Nigeria. While there is no treatment for Ebola, however, researchers are constantly developing a vaccine.
20. COVID-19 (2019 to the present)
The coronavirus pandemic, more commonly known by its acronym COVID-19 has symptoms like dyspnea, fever, cough shortness of breath, muscle pain, and fatigue. In extreme cases, it is caused by pneumonia which is a respiratory distress syndrome. Based on the WHO the disease is fatal with a rate of between 0.5 percent and 1 percent of cases. There is currently no treatment specific to the condition; principal therapeutic methods consist of relief from symptoms and maintaining your body’s vital organ functions.
The symptoms are present within 2 to 14 days and last for an average of five days after being exposed to this virus. There is a limited amount of evidence that suggests the virus can be transmitted within a few days prior to the onset of the symptoms, as the virus’s load increases towards the end of the incubation phase. The risk of contracting the virus is reduced by regularly washing your hands, or, if not, disinfecting them using alcohol gel by covering the mouth whenever you cough or sneeze and staying away from contact with others, as well as other preventative measures including the use of masks.
The information about people who have been affected by this illness is continuously updated since at present it is still a developing pandemic. In this graph, we can see the changes that have taken place since it was first discovered.