With coronavirus being declared as a pandemic within the initial days of its outbreak, the whole world has reconsidered their heath and securities. Nobody ever even imagined in their wildest dreams that something of this sort could toss their lives upside down in the name of a disease. But here we are after more than eleven months where still things haven’t gone back to the way they were.
It is a hard toll for every human being but it was high time since the environment had some mending days. ‘change is nature, and you can’t resist nature’, these lines were just mere lines till January when we understand the deep meaning it held. The history repeats itself and has done so similarly with the coronavirus pandemic. Whenever the balance is shifted, nature has a way of setting it straight. Today we are counting our picks of the top 10 deadliest pandemics of all time which changed the name and face of the entire earth.
But before we get into the gory details we should know what is a Pandemic?
A pandemic is an epidemic that has spread across a large and widespread area within a short period. However, no exact words are yet put together to describe a pandemic but can be said that one or the other pandemic occurs annually in the northern and southern hemisphere.
#1: The black death:
- The black death was the deadliest pandemic that was ever recorded in human history. The deadly pandemic was a bubonic plague that took Asia, Africa, and Europe by storm.
- The plague started in the early 1340s and is said that the pathogen may have arrived with 12 trading ships to the port. People were horrified when they found out that half of the men on the ship were dead and the other half had black boils on the areas of groins and armpits oozing out pus.
- Mostly all the textbooks blamed that the virus may have spread from rats and the symptoms of the disease included strange pus exploding black boils accompanied with fever, chills, and diarrhea and later on resulting in sudden death.
- The deadly virus took near about 75-200 million lives and would spread by touching infected people or their belonging such as clothes or other items.
- The only theory that explained how the black death would have ended is by quarantine. The infected people were not allowed to meet others and were locked up in a house and relied mostly on crude and orthodox methods of burning boils which were not of much use.
#2: The flu pandemic or the H1N1 virus:
- The world still has chills down its spine when it hears about the flu pandemic which broke out in 1918 creating a massacre and took as many as 20-50 million lives.
- A total of one-third of the population was infected by influenza which tore the world into a million fragments.
- The mortality rate was higher in people younger than 5 years, age groups of 20-40, and people old enough and as older as 65 years of age.
- The flu took 25 million lives in the first 25 weeks alone.
- The saddest part about this pandemic is no medical advancements and invention of antibiotics made it go on a killing spree.
- The H1N1 virus is said to have origins of avian genes, however no exact reason has been found to date to prove how the whole thing happened.
- The flu pandemic was popularly known as the Spanish flu.
#3: HIV/AIDS pandemic peak years(2005-2012)
- The virus was first identified in the Dominican Republic and has taken 36 million lives since 1981.
- As of now, there are 31 million active HIV cases and most of them belong to the Sub-Saharan region.
- Treatments can help slow the process of HIV but a sure shot cure is yet to be found. Hiv is considered as a global pandemic by only a few people as WHO now prefers to call it an epidemic.
- The person is said to have progressed towards AIDS only when the number of CD-4 cells falls below the threshold value of 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood.
- HIV is the virus and not every HIV needs to turn to AIDS. Some may live with just HIV but most of the cases head towards AIDS in 15-20 years.
#4: PLAGUE OF JUSTINIAN (541-542):
- Named after Justinian, the Roman emperor of Constantinople, spread in 542 and by the time it recovered had already killed about a fifth of the population in the imperial capital.
- The most common reason for the outbreak of this pandemic is said to have fleas. Also, the study and research indicate that the virus may have originated in the lands of India and China but quickly spread to Egypt through trade routes.
- The common symptoms of the pandemic included chills along with abdominal pains and swollen or tender lymph nodes.
- However no exact known cure is found, the theorists believe that the plague may have been cured by superstitious treatments of applying vinegar and water and some as grave as carrying flowers around all day.
- The plague took about 5000 deaths per day causing a total loss of 25 million lives.
- The plague lasted from 165 A.D to 180 A.D and was also called the plague of Galen after the physician who described it.
- This plague was discovered as smallpox or measles and was brought to the roman empire by two troops returning from the northeast.
- This pandemic most like originated in china in 16 CCE and started heading towards Rome. Looks like China is the producer of all the deadly pandemics that proves to be the near end of the world.
- The Antonine plague when broke out in 165 A.D nobody even went down the road of treating it, le alone eradicating it. Though smallpox has vanished from our lives it was a whole different story back then.
- This plague took around 5 million lives making it one of the deadliest pandemic the world has ever seen.
#6: Asian Flu:
- The category 2 flu of the version H1N1 virus or the Spanish flu broke out in 1918.
- The H2N2 virus again originated in china in 1957 and put the world to a halt. The virus resulted from a mutation of ducks with an existing human strain.
- The case fatality was calculated to be 0.67% and an overall death rate of 3 percent.
- This pandemic took 2 million lives and 69,800 in the US alone. Seems like America has not learned from its mistakes.
- A vaccination for the virus was released in 1957 and the pandemic gradually started slowing down.
#7: The novel coronavirus:
- the ongoing pandemic which only added to the misery of the people was also originated in China. The virus first broke out in Wuhan when someone knowingly or unknowingly consumed a bat in a wet market in Wuhan,
- This pandemic reported its first case in late December and spread like wildfire by the month of March.
- The novel coronavirus belongs to the family of coronaviruses who produce symptoms similar to that of flu or influenza but are not harmful as the SARS-CoV-2 which has taken 1.1 million deaths so far with the highest number of deaths being recorded in the United States of America.
- Several vaccines are under the trial phases in different parts of India as well as the world, the word desperately waits for one.
#8: Third cholera pandemic:
- This pandemic is regarded as one of the top deadliest pandemics out of the three cholera pandemics that occurred in the world.
- The third cholera pandemic originated in India and slowly started ravaging its way from the Ganges river delta to the parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa.
- This pandemic went on for 8 years and took more than 1 million lives then.
- The third cholera pandemic proved to be hard on Russia and recorded 15,000 deaths in just a month.
- This was a hard one to get rid of and the infected were given a treatment of saline water injected into their veins.
#9: Hong Kong Flu:
- The hong kong flu pandemic emerged in 1968 and was caused by the virus H3N2, the virus was said to be an offspring of the H2N2 virus.
- The pandemic was a scene of destruction when it took only 17 days to reach Vietnam and Singapore and further reach the Philippines in a short duration of three months.
- The virus reported a death count of more than a million and 15 percent of them belonged to hong kong.
- The vaccine for the pandemic was made within four months and was able to curb the spread swiftly.
#10: sixth cholera pandemic:
- like its five predecessors, the sixth cholera pandemic also originated in India and then spread to the middle ease.
- The pandemic took 800,000 lives worldwide originated in 1910 and lasted for a year,
- The sixth cholera pandemic was also responsible for the last American outbreak of cholera.
- Being the sixth pandemic of the same kind, the whole world had learned from mistakes in the past and the death numbers due to cholera were shot down in 1923 and only 11 deaths were reported in India at a given time.
The world has suffered through a great history of pandemics and is going through it again. Bu the balance is ought to maintained and nature is doing it very well, though it is not in the favor of humans this time.