Recent worst epidemics and pandemics- Here we are back with the second part of what eventually was received as a very intimidating article in the precursor edition of the same. As we now turn the notch for the time machine to travel further ahead, our eyes will now bear witness to what eventually seemed like the acceleration of the number of epidemics and pandemics over a span of the last 300 years.
Once again this list has been curated from Live Science. Let’s begin with the more-recent worst epidemics and pandemics, prior to the current outbreak-
Russian Plague: 1770-1772
There wasn’t much information which was available about this plague as this period was also overshadowed by a lot of violent unrest in the empire. The step to which the polity resorted to in order to contain the plague backfired and ended up culminating into riots. These riots resulted in the execution of Archbishop Ambrosius, who led the charge of averting any kinds of gathering.
Hasty and desperate measures from Catherine the Great resulted in her decreeing the industries of Moscow be moved, thereby divesting the Russian capital of its main source of income and galvanising further panic and deaths. By the time this plague bade adieu to Russia, more than 1,00,000 people have died. To add to this woeful scenario, Peter III who was the husband of the queen led further insurrections, thereby shattering the Russian hopes of resurgence.
Philadelphia Yellow Fever epidemic: 1739
One of the major factors which spurred this epidemic was the lack of proper knowledge and treating slaves at subhuman conditions. In the wake of the epidemic in the States capital at that point in time, Philadelphia, there was a misconception that the Africans are immune to this fever, given their previous history of endurance.
However, with the arrival of the Africans in Philadelphia, that skyrocketed the populace of the region, the plague took a flight of fancy as it was pervading through mosquitoes. Apparently no known cure could put an end to this plague. It was the arrival of winter that killed the mosquitoes and put an end to this plague. However, before the sweeping away of the mosquitoes, it took along with it at least 5000 people.
Flu Pandemic: 1889-1890
Probably one of the biggest plagues in its wake, aided by the advent of transport, this pandemic reached its peak mortality within just five weeks of its arrival. The diseases sprawled across the entire globe in a very short span of time and killed one million people.
Hailing all the way from Russia, the virus took its flight of fancy in Europe and reigned supreme across the rest of the world. It is considered one of the worst epidemics during the course of human history.
American Polio epidemic: 1916
This was more like a battle of human beings fighting with a pistol against an army of aliens.
With 27000 cases discovered that resulted in 6000 deaths, Polio left children with life-changing disabilities. However, it wasn’t a free flow for this epidemic. There was the intermittent transmission and it met its doom at the hands of Salk vaccine which came out in 1954. The last case of Polio was observed in 1979.
Spanish Flu: 1918-1920
Another massive killing machine that announced its invasion of the human species was the Spanish Flu. Launching itself as an unchecked decimation of mankind, this flu went on to ravage at least 500 million people, with 100 million of them succumbing to this monstrosity. To add to the woes of humanity a few indigenous groups were almost wiped out from the face of the planet.
It also played a menacing accomplice to World War 1. With the number of deaths already kissing the sky and with the soldiers dwelling in deplorable conditions, the spread of the disease accelerated exponentially. It is still the worst epidemic in human history.
Now the root of this name is a product of misconception from the common people driven by panic. Apparently this epidemic did not emanate in Spain. Being a neutral nation in the times of crisis, Spain never felt the need to exercise an embargo on free reporting. Apparently they were the ones to break out the news of the illness and haplessly people believed that Spain was the cradle for the plague, voila! The name arrived.
Asian Flu: 1957-1958
Influenza has graced the earth in several incarnations and the Asian apparition of the same was just another beefed-up case. With a million lives falling as a casualty, this virus was a confluence of avian flu viruses.
According to the reports of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most notable spread of the disease was in Singapore in February 1957. It then moved on to Hong Kong in April, followed by the cities lingering around the beaches of the United States in the summers of the same year.
The numbers read 1.1 million deaths worldwide out of which 10 per cent was from the United States, underlining the severe impact of the epidemic.
AIDS pandemic and epidemic: 1981-present day
More than a biological pandemic, AIDS has raked the world in the form of social stigma. More than 35 million people have fallen prey to this virus that emasculates the immunity system and thereby the name, human immunodeficiency virus.
This was initially developed from a chimpanzee virus and was transferred to humans in West Africa in the 1920s. It raked the world by the late 20th century and now the major chunk of the people suffering from this virus constitutes the populace of sub-Saharan Africa.
Treatment to this disease is still in the testing phase, however, it is getting advanced with every passing day. Adding to the encouragement of the situation, the advancement of the medicines has cured two people in 2020. Though it could have been easily controlled, it became one of the worst epidemics in recent times.
H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic: 2009-2010
The 2009 swine flu pandemic was a result of a new strain of H1N1 that hailed all the way from Mexico in 2009 before proliferating itself and grab the world by the scruff of its neck. According to the reports of CDC, more than 1.4 billion people were infected and the death toll went up to 5,75,400.
This virus had a bloodlust for younger people and the deaths were rifer in the younger age brackets. The older people stood tall, already immune to the strands of H1N1 and thereby the virus was returned empty-handed from our seniors.
West African Ebola epidemic: 2014-2016
Ebola wreaked havoc across West Africa and with cases that witnessed drastic contortions, the staggering numbers read 11325 deaths from 28600 cases. The first case of this virus was reported in Guinea in 2013 before it went on free flow to Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Though there were sporadic cases that were spotted in Nigeria, Senegal, Mali, The United States and Europe, however, the primarily affected countries faced the full blast of the virus.
Suspected to be originated in bats, the first case in the history of the same was 1976. An attempt to create a vaccine is still underway. This could still possibly resurge and become one of the worst epidemics in history. Hopefully not!!
Zika Virus: 2015 to present day
The cure for this virus is still oblivious to mankind and one isn’t aware of the exact impact of this alien body. Usually, it is spread through the Aedes genus of mosquito, however, cases of sexual transmission were also spotted.
For Zika to proliferate the mosquitoes who have been the most active carrier of the same, it must be warm and humid weather, thereby making it easier for them to pick southern parts of the United States to be an active breeding ground. It is currently one of the worst epidemics, as it impacts future generations.