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Worst epidemics and pandemics in history – Telangana Today

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Throughout the course of history, disease outbreaks have ravaged humanity, sometimes changing the course of history and at times, signaling the end of entire civilizations. Read about some of the worst epidemics and pandemics, dating from prehistoric to modern times.
Plague of Athens: 430 BC
Around 430 B.C., not long after a war between Athens and Sparta began, an epidemic ravaged the people of Athens and lasted for five years. Some estimates put the death toll as high as 100,000 people. The Greek historian Thucydides (460-400 B.C.) wrote that “people in good health were all of a sudden attacked by violent heats in the head and redness and inflammation in the eyes, the inward parts, such as the throat or tongue, becoming bloody and emitting an unnatural and fetid breath.
The Black Death: 1346-1353
The Black Death traveled from Asia to Europe, leaving devastation in its wake. Some estimates suggest that it wiped out over half of Europe’s population. It was caused by a strain of the bacterium Yersinia pestis that is likely extinct today and was spread by fleas on infected rodents.
The bodies of victims were buried in mass graves. The plague changed the course of Europe’s history. With so many dead, labor became harder to find, bringing about better pay for workers and the end of Europe’s system of serfdom. Studies suggest that surviving workers had better access to meat and higher-quality bread. The lack of cheap labor may also have contributed to technological innovation.
Spanish Flu: 1918-1920
An estimated 500 million people from the South Seas to the North Pole fell victim to the Spanish Flu. One-fifth of those died, with some indigenous communities, pushed to the brink of extinction. The flu’s spread and lethality were enhanced by the cramped conditions of soldiers and poor wartime nutrition that many people were experiencing during World War I.
Despite the name Spanish Flu, the disease likely did not start in Spain. Spain was a neutral nation during the war and did not enforce strict censorship of its press, which could therefore freely publish early accounts of the illness. As a result, people falsely believed the illness was specific to Spain and the name Spanish Flu stuck.
AIDS pandemic and epidemic: 1981-present day
AIDS has claimed an estimated 35 million lives since it was first identified. HIV, which is the virus that causes AIDS, likely developed from a chimpanzee virus that transferred to humans in West Africa in the 1920s. The virus made its way around the world, and AIDS was a pandemic by the late 20th century.
For decades, the disease had no known cure, but medication developed in the 1990s now allows people with the disease to experience a normal life span with regular treatment. Even more encouraging, two people have been cured of HIV as of early 2020.
Ebola epidemic: 2014-2016
Ebola ravaged West Africa between 2014 and 2016, with 28,600 reported cases and 11,325 deaths. The first case to be reported was in Guinea in December 2013, then the disease quickly spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone. The bulk of the cases and deaths occurred in those three countries. A smaller number of cases occurred in Nigeria, Mali, Senegal, the United States, and Europe, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
Covid-19: 2019- to present
Coronavirus disease 2019 is a contagious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first known case was identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The disease has since spread worldwide, leading to an ongoing pandemic, and has claimed over 30 lakh lives worldwide.
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