What Were The 20 Deadliest Pandemics In History? | roxana_ac

What Were The 20 Deadliest Pandemics In History?

After knowing who names the new viruses, I found it interesting to read and do a little research on which were the 20 most lethal pandemics in history since, as we all know, unfortunately, COVID-19 has taken many lives.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused at least 4,725,638 deaths in the world since the WHO office in China reported the appearance of the disease in December 2019. Since the beginning of the epidemic, more than 230,520,700 people have contracted the illness. Many people had recovered fast from it but many others had symptoms for several weeks. The WHO even estimates that if the over-mortality linked to #COVID -19 is taken into account, directly and indirectly, the balance of the pandemic could be two to three times higher than that officially registered. However, the story can help put what is happening in perspective. Here is a #review of the most significant pandemics on record:

Antonina Plague (165-180): 5 Million Deaths

The further one goes back in time, the less precise are the details about diseases and their consequences. But there is more than enough historical evidence to know that the Antonine plague was devastating in its time. The infection broke out in the Roman Empire after the return of troops who had fought in the Middle East. The disease is believed to have been smallpox or measles, but there is no consensus among historians.

It is known as the Antonine plague by the name of the ruling dynasty in Rome at the time. In fact, there are indications that the emperor Lucio Vero, who ruled together with his adoptive brother Marco Aurelio, died in the year 169 victim of this evil. Current estimates put 5 million deaths, which would make it the seventh deadliest pandemic in history.


Justinian Plague (541-542): 30-50 Million Deaths

The epicenter of the outbreak was Constantinople - now Istanbul -, the capital of the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire). The origin was the rats that arrived on merchant ships from different corners of Eurasia, carriers of fleas infected with the bubonic plague.

Emperor Justinian I also contracted the disease but survived. Estimates of between 30 and 50 million deaths as a result of the pandemic span the two centuries in which it re-emerged. That makes it the fourth-worst ever.


Japanese Smallpox Epidemic (735–737): 1 Million Deaths

It developed in the context of growing exchanges between Japan and the Asian continent, which led to other epidemics. It began in 735 in Dazaifu City, Fukuoka, after a Japanese fisherman contracted it in Korea. The disease spread rapidly and ended up affecting most of the island, where about a third of the population died.

Black Death (1347-1351): 200 Million Deaths

It is considered the deadliest pandemic and with the longest impact in human history. The outbreak is believed to have started in Central Asia, and from there it passed along the Silk Road to the Crimean peninsula - now disputed between Russia and Ukraine - in 1343. Housed in the fleas of black rats, it spread throughout Europe using merchant ships as a means of transport.

The most conservative estimates hold that it killed 30% of the European population, but the boldest estimates say that up to 60% may have died as a result of the pandemic. It took 200 years for the continent to regain its previous level of inhabitants, although some regions, such as Florence and its surroundings, took until the 19th century.


Smallpox (1520): 56 Million Deaths

It was an unknown disease in the American continent, but it came with the European conquest. It was first introduced into what is now Mexico by the Spanish and was decisive in the fall of the Aztec Empire. It is considered the second-largest pandemic in history, and there are estimates that it killed up to 90% of the Native American population.

Great Plagues Of The 17th Century (1600): 3 Million Deaths

They were different outbreaks of bubonic plague that had different epicenters throughout the century. One of the most significant was the Great Plague of London, which lasted from 1665 to 1666, and was the last major epidemic of bubonic plague in England.

Great Plagues Of The 18th Century (1700): 600,000 Deaths

There were various epidemics that arose in different countries. The most important was the Russian plague of 1770-1772, also known as the plague of 1771. Between 52,000 and 100,000 people died in Moscow alone, whose population was reduced by a third.

Cholera (1817-1923): 1 Million Deaths

The lack of treatment of human excrement and the absence of drinking water are the main responsible for the spread of cholera. Between 1817 and 1923, the first six pandemics of this disease occurred in different parts of the Asian continent.

The Third Plague (1855): 12 Million Deaths

The third bubonic plague pandemic emerged in Yunnan, China, during Emperor Xianfeng's fifth year of the Qing dynasty. From there it spread around the world, though nowhere did it have such a deadly impact as in India, where it caused nearly 10 million deaths. It is the sixth deadliest pandemic in history.

Yellow Fever (Late 1800s): 100,000-150,000 Deaths

Scientists believe that it originated in Africa, with transmission between primates and humans. The virus and the vector, which is Aedes aegypti, a species of mosquito, were brought to the American continent by slave trading ships. During the 19th century, there were important outbreaks in America and Europe.

Spanish Flu (1918-1919): 40-50 Million Deaths

It was the first pandemic caused by the influenza virus, H1N1, and it became the third most lethal in the history of mankind, due to the fact that it showed a mortality rate much higher than usual. It is estimated that it infected 500 million people worldwide, about 27% of the global population.

The interesting thing is that Spain did not suffer particularly more than other countries from the epidemic. But the postwar period had led many governments to censor death reports in Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States. That did not happen in Spain, which had been kept out of the conflict, and that is why people began to talk about the Spanish flu.


Russian Flu (1889-1890): 1 Million Deaths

The influenza A virus subtype H2N2 is found in birds and, according to some medical researchers, it first emerged in Russia in 1889. Although other specialists maintain that there is insufficient evidence that it was this type of virus, the pandemic caused about a million deaths.

Asian Flu (1957-1958): 1.1 Million Deaths

If the Russian flu was the first influenza A pandemic, the Asian was the second. Some authors believe that it originated from a mutation in wild ducks that was combined with a pre-existing human strain. The virus was first identified in Guizhou, China, and spread to Singapore, from there to Hong Kong, and then to the United States.

Hong Kong Flu (1968-1970): 1-4 Million Deaths

It was the third in this series of pandemics. The first record of the outbreak in Hong Kong appeared on July 13, 1968, and by the end of the month, it had already reached Vietnam and Singapore. The region had not learned the lessons of previous outbreaks.

HIV/AIDS (1981-Present): 25-35 Million Deaths

AIDS is caused by a human immunodeficiency #virus that originated in primates in central and western Africa in the early 20th century. While several subgroups of the virus acquired the ability to infect humans, the #pandemic had its origins in the emergence of a specific strain, HIV-1 subgroup M, in Leopoldville, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and skyrocketed from 1981.

There are currently 37.9 million people who are infected with HIV worldwide, and 770,000 people died from this disease in 2018 alone. Sub-Saharan Africa is the worst affected region, with 61% of new infections coming from there.


SARS (2002-2003): 770 Deaths

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is a disease caused by a coronavirus other than the one that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV. Between November 2002 and July 2003, an outbreak in southern China ended with 8,098 people infected in 17 countries, although most cases were in China and Hong Kong.

The virus emerged in cave-dwelling horseshoe bats in Yunnan province, and from there it spread to humans. Regardless, no new cases of SARS have been reported since 2004.


Swine Flu (2009-2010): 200,000 Deaths

It was the second pandemic caused by the H1N1 flu virus, almost a century after the Spanish flu. However, it is a new strain of H1N1, which originated when the avian, swine, and human flu viruses combined with a Eurasian swine flu virus, which is why it is known as swine flu.

The outbreak appeared in pigs in a region of central Mexico, and from there it spread. It is estimated that between 11 and 21% of the world's population at that time contracted the disease.


MERS (2012-Present): 850 Deaths

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome is also caused by a coronavirus. The first case was found in a 60-year-old Saudi Arabian man with acute pneumonia. He died of kidney failure in June 2012, and then two more deaths were reported in the Al Ahsa region. From there it moved to various countries, mainly in the Middle East, but also in other regions, such as South Korea, which had an outbreak in 2015.

Ebola (2014-2016): 11,300 Deaths

It is a viral hemorrhagic fever that affects humans and primates. 2014 was the most widespread outbreak of the disease in history. The first cases were registered in Guinea in December 2013, and from there it spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone, where it caused devastating human and material effects. The fatality rate among hospitalized patients reached between 57 and 59 %.

Unfortunately, future generations will also know of the damage that COVID-19 did to humanity.

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