Top 10 most famous pandemics and epidemics in history

To date, mankind has been repeatedly tested for strength by a variety of epidemics of viruses and bacteria. As practice shows, people have always dealt with infections, but never really knew how to treat them. Until the 19th century, diseases caused by viruses and bacteria were the main agents of death. Now, most of the most dangerous diseases are being successfully cured. This top contains a rating of the most famous pandemics and epidemics in history that have been defeated or are being confronted right now.

10. Black pox

Smallpox has been known to the world since ancient times. The first case was discovered in China in the 4th century AD. The epidemic was spreading rapidly, reducing the population of dozens of countries. It is noteworthy that there is still no final version of what exactly became the causative agent of the disease, which in the 20th century alone destroyed 300 million people. By the way, those who survived remained disabled for the rest of their lives – most often their eyesight suffered. They treated the disease in different ways: someone with the help of prayers and spells, while others used amulets and decoctions. Later, they began to practice variolation – the inoculation of smallpox, which the human body could overcome without problems. Now, the black disease is considered “dead” – only a few countries of the world have samples of the dangerous disease.

9. Plague

The first deaths from the “plague stick” were identified in 540 AD, and over the next century, more than 150 million people died from the disease. At that time, the world’s population was about 450 million inhabitants. The disease was transmitted by fleas and rodents, spread quickly and did not respond to treatment, destroying millions. The second outbreak, which appeared in the 14th century, was called the “bubonic plague” – it caused the formation of abscesses and tumors. Europe and Africa lost about 50% of their population, and entire cities and villages were destroyed in China and India. The third, “Chinese” wave killed about 20 million people.

8. Cholera

A dangerous intestinal infection called “cholera” was known to people in ancient times. Hippocrates and Celsus talked about her, the best doctors of that time tried to heal her. The disease, the main symptoms of which were fluid loss and sudden death, behaved quite peacefully until the 19th century, manifesting itself in rare outbreaks. However, in 1816, on the lands of present-day Bangladesh, the first wave mowed down millions of soldiers, Indians and the inhabitants of the island of Java. “Cholera riots” reached Russia, Germany, France, Britain, then swam across the ocean and killed up to 1860, a total of 40 million people. After a long respite, when humanity no longer thought about the return of the disease, another outbreak, which lasted until 1923, killed 10 million. The last pandemic killed lives until 1962.

7. Typhus

Typhoid is a short word that refers to a devastating infection caused by a tiny microbe. Within a month, in 1489, a blister-type outbreak took the lives of 17,000 soldiers. During the First World War, this disease wiped out millions of Russians, Poles and Romanians. As a result of malaise, loss of appetite and a rapid increase in body temperature, fever arose, which was accompanied by chills and nausea. If the treatment did not come, the blood became infected, gangrene developed, the lungs became inflamed, and the kidneys stopped working. The advent of the vaccine during the Second World War made it possible to significantly reduce the number of cases, however, cases of this terrible disease are still recorded in the countries of Africa, Asia and South America.

6. Leprosy

The second name for this disease is leprosy. It disfigured the skin, the nervous system, disfigured a person and led to death. The source of the disease was mycobacterium, which spread quickly and survived well, but could develop for a long time, biding its time. In the early Middle Ages, lepers were treated accordingly: they were killed, buried alive, and from the most humane, they were forced to put a bell around their necks to notify others of their presence. Later, death from this disease will be called “lazy” – the disease did not develop any mechanisms of resistance. Today, the population of India, Brazil, Indonesia is sick with leprosy. About 150 thousand people are affected annually.

5. Malaria

Malaria is a disease that has been carried by mosquitoes more than 4000 years ago. An infected mosquito that decided to feast on human blood, “rewarded” the body with a microbe that rapidly multiplied inside the red blood cells. During World War II, the disease killed more than 60,000 soldiers. Mosquitoes were destroyed, and insecticides banned today were used for treatment. Some malaria outbreaks are still occurring. The disease occurs especially often in Africa. Every year, about 280 million people fall ill with malaria, and 500,000 die.

4. Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is a disease that still occurs today. The presence of the disease has been identified even in ancient Egyptian mummies! Mycobacterium, entering the human body through the air, affected the lungs, causing bouts of severe coughing up blood. Since the 1600s, over 200 years, every 7 people who become ill have died. It was only with the development of streptomycin in 1944 that the disease was overcome. However, the debilitating disease continues to plague the population of all countries. Every year, approximately 8 million people are diagnosed with tuberculosis, of which 2 million die. People with HIV infection suffer the most, they have weakened immunity.

3. Spanish flu

The Spanish flu is considered the most common and fatal influenza pandemic in the entire history of human existence. The infection got its name from the place of detection of the first outbreak – in Spain, where in 1918 about 9 million people were infected with the virus. The super-rapid spread of the disease due to World War I contributed to the fact that in the 210 days of the pandemic, the virus took the lives of more than 35 million people. In total, a third of the planet was ill with the Spanish flu, and about 100 million people died. Death on the face from this disease was commonplace, and the funeral procession was more like a frightening parade. The Spanish flu re-emerged in 2009, but lighter. It is now referred to as “swine flu”.

2. HIV infection

For the first time, AIDS appeared in the 1980s. Since then, more than 25 million people have died. According to statistics, today there are approximately 33 million HIV-infected people on the planet. The global pandemic was caused by the human immunodeficiency virus, which was spread through blood, unprotected intercourse, and passed from mother to child. A damaged immune system opened the door for infections that would not affect the life of the average person. Some scientists have suggested that for the first time the virus passed to humans from a primate. There is still no cure for the disease, but there are supportive drugs, thanks to which HIV-infected people can live a happy, long life.

1. Coronavirus infection COVID-19

Today it is, without a doubt, the most famous pandemic in the world, as it is relevant like no other. Coronavirus is an acute viral illness that affects the respiratory system. Bats are believed to be the original source of this disease. The virus is transmitted between people through air, dust and waste products, spreads well in warmth and instantly dies at high temperatures – more than 50 degrees. The first disease was discovered in China. Due to the fact that the disease proceeds like a regular flu, a person throughout the entire incubation period (and it lasts from 1 to 14 days) can unknowingly infect others. This led to the fact that the disease quickly spread throughout the world in 2020, covering all countries and killing for several months, according to official figures, more than 13,000 people. But the pandemic is only gaining momentum.

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