History of Major Pandemics


Disease and illnesses have always been  catastrophe to  humanity since ancient times. The magnitude of the illnesses and death rates have shown a  marked shift. The more civilized humans became – with larger cities, more exotic trade routes, and increased contact with different populations of people, animals, and ecosystems – the more likely pandemics would occur.

Despite the persistence of disease and pandemics throughout,   one trend that has emerged over time is the gradual reduction in the death rate. As the germ theory is discovered and there is a better understanding of the causative agents has led to better control. Healthcare improvements and control of infections have been powerful tools in mitigating their impact.

In many ancient societies, people believed that spirits and gods inflicted disease and destruction upon those that deserved their wrath. This unscientific perception often led to disastrous responses that resulted in the deaths of thousands.

Brief timeline for the major known pandemics :

165  AD  –  Antonine plague-  thought to be small pox or measles  and caused

around   5 million deaths.

735 AD –     Variola major virus–  Japanese smallpox  –     around 1 million deaths

541  AD-     Plague of Justinian – Yersinia pestis/ rat, fleas –   30- 50 million deaths

1347 AD-    Black death (Plague) –- Yersinia pestis/ rat fleas –   200 million  deaths

1520 AD-   Smallpox —                  Variola major virus—                  56 million deaths

1665 AD  Great plague of London–- Yersinia pestis/ rat fleas –     One lac deaths

1629 AD-         Italian plague          Yersinia pestis/ rat fleas –     death 30- 50 million

1817  AD– Cholera pandemic (6) – vibrio cholera: over 100 years-death one million

1850 AD – Third plague     –         Yersinia pestis/ rat fleas –              death –12  million

1880 AD-  Yellow fever –           Viral /     mosquitoes                    death 1 lac to 1.5 lac

1889  AD-        Russian flu-                   H2 N2 (bird)                           deaths    10 million

1918 AD–      Spanish flu  –                 H1 N1 (Pigs)                          deaths 30-50 million

1958 AD  –         -Asian Flu                                  H2 N2                                        1 million

1968 AD  –     Hong Kong flu                        H3 N2                                              1 million

1981 AD- continued -HIV/AIDS               viral/  chimpanzees                     30 -40 million

2002 AD-            SARS–                         corona virus  Civets / Bats-                     770

2009 AD              Swine Flu                        H1N1 – (pigs)                                     200,000

2014 AD –           EBOLA                                 Ebola virus  –                                       11000

2015 AD-            MERS                          Corona virus/ bats, Camel         death count 850

2019 AD           -COVID -19                         Corona virus                            -still continued

 

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