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