The only single thing that has put humans dominance over the planet in threat is none other than the invisible virus that we cannot even see with our naked eyes. It doesn’t matter how much advance we are in technology or medical science we can’t just stop the virus which is completely unknown to us. The virus will always be one step ahead of us as long as it is completely decoded. These are the list of top Pandemic diseases in the world that has killed more than 200 thousand peoples and threatened human extinction.
TOP Pandemic diseases in the world
1. Swine Flu (2009-2010)
250k to 500k peoples died
Swine flu was an influenza pandemic involving the new strain of the H1N1 influenza virus that has caused deadlier Spanish flu in the early 1900s. The new strain of the H1N1 virus is the reassortment of three viruses. The bird swine, human flu viruses further combined with a Eurasian pig virus to become the deadly “Swine Flu” virus.
Infecting around 11- 21 % of the global population that was around 700 million to 1.4 billion peoples, this pandemic nearly killed 250 thousand to 500 thousand people in almost less than a year (according to WHO).
Unlike other influenza viruses, the swine flu virus mostly affected children and young adults. And according to the report from CDC 80% of the deaths were in people younger than 65.
This was completely unusual but in case of swine flu, older people seem to have built up enough immunity to the group of viruses that H1N1 belongs, so weren’t affected much.
A vaccine for swine flu is now included in the annual flu vaccine.
2. Japanese smallpox Epidemic (735-737)
1M peoples died
Smallpox is a highly contagious disease that is characterized by fever, spots on the skin and often death. It has been eradicated effectively through vaccination by 1979. But during 735-737 it has wiped out about one-third of the population of the japan that is about 1 million people died of smallpox.
According to some fiscal reports, the adult mortality rate for Japanese smallpox has been estimated at 25%-35%.
Over the next several centuries, japan continued to experience the smallpox epidemic. However, by the early 2nd millennium, smallpox had become endemic to the Japanese population and less devastating during outbreaks.
3. Cholera 6 Outbreak (1899-1923)
1M peoples died
Over the last 200 years, we have faced around 7 major cholera outbreaks in our world. Started from India, the sixth outbreak of cholera created the huge destruction of life killing more than 800 thousand people in India alone with a total of about 1M fatalities.
However, now we have known a lot more mechanisms behind the spread of cholera. Lack of treatment of the human feces and lack of treatment of the drinking water helps to spread it quickly. And some simple sanitary and hygienic tools can sharply decrease the infection of the Cholera.
4. Hongkong Flu (1968-1969)
1M peoples died
Hongkong Flu was caused by an H3N2 strain of the influenza virus. This Hongkong flu was responsible for nearly 1 million untimely deaths within a year (source Wikipedia). As by its name the flu virus has an outbreak in Hongkong on 13 July 1968 and later it has spread all over the world by 1969, mostly affecting the united states where almost 1 lakh peoples died.
Later on the pandemic did not gain momentum due to improved medical care and the availability of the antibiotics.
4. Russian Flu (1889-1890)
1M peoples died
Russian Flu is also a flu pandemic that is caused by the H2N2 Influenza A virus which was later on asserted to be the H3N8 virus.
The Russian flu was first reported on Bukhara, Russian Empire in May 1889 and within four months it was spread throughout the northern hemisphere. And nearly killed 1 million people all around the world.
6. Asian Flu (1957-1958)
1.1M peoples died
Asian Flu is also a pandemic which is caused by the H2N2 influenzas A virus. This virus was identified in China in late February 1957 and it spread all over the world.
It mostly affected the united states, killing nearly 70000 to 116000 peoples.
The infection rates were highest among the school children, young adults and pregnant women.
Due to the various surveillance for flu in history, the Asian Flu pandemic virus was quickly identified and the vaccine was available in limited supply by august 1957.
However, it could not control the initial deaths of the peoples and nearly 1.1 million people have to die untimely (according to CDC) due to this Asian Flu.
7. Antonine Plague (165-180)
5M peoples died
This is a mystery to be solved yet for the true cause of the Antonine plague, however, some scholars have suspected it to have been either smallpox or measles.
The Antonine Plague is also known as the plague of Galen. Galen was a Greek physician who described the pandemic for the first time. The plague of Galen was an ancient pandemic. Roman Empire troops who returned from the campaigns In the near east had brought the pandemic plague of Galen to the roman empire.
According to the ancient source, this disease wiped out one-third of the population by killing 5 million people and devasted the Roman army.
8. The bubonic plague (the third plague) (1855)
12M peoples died
The bubonic plague was begun in Yunnan China in 1855 and spread to all the inhabited continents killing nearly 10M people in India alone with total deaths of 12M peoples worldwide. This strain was largely confined to Asia.
The name refers to the pandemic is the third major plague attack on humans. The first was the plague of Justinian and the second was the black death.
9. HIV/AIDS (1981- Present)
35M peoples died
The human immunodeficiency virus was likely developed from a chimpanzee virus that transferred to humans in West Africa for the first time. And way back from 1981 to the present date, almost 35M people have died of this virus. Which is at peak during 2005-2012.
As per the present date around 37M people are living with AIDS. Due to the development of the medical treatments and awareness among the peoples HIV is made far more manageable. And the infected person can even experience a normal life span with regular treatment.
10. Plague of Justinian (the first plague ) (541-542)
50M peoples died
541-542 is the disastrous year for humankind when almost half of the population of Europe was wiped out. One of the worst outbreak of the plague, the Plague of Justinian was originated from China and northeast India and left its mark on the whole world by killing around 50M peoples over the entire world.
Not only humans, animals of all types, including cats and dogs were also affected. Due to which, the dead bodies littered the cities.
11. Spanish Flu (1918-1919)
50M peoples died
Spanish flu was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic that infected about a third of the world population at that time. The infected population was estimated to be around 500M. And it eradicated nearly 50M peoples out of the earth.
The virus was deadly for people with a strong immune system. And some researches had shown that the H1N1 virus triggers a cytokine storm, which ravages the strong immune system of young adults.
12. Black Death(The Second Plague)(1347-1351)
200M peoples died
The second plague pandemic recorded was the most fatal pandemic recorded in the history of humanity. The black death was said to be spread by a bacillus called Yersinia pestis that can even transmit from person to person through the air.
Healthy people did all they could do to avoid the infection. Doctors refused to treat the patients as they were afraid of its transmission, priests didn’t administer last rites and shopkeepers were afraid to open the stores.
Not only peoples it affected all the other animals like cows, sheep, goats, pigs, and chicken as well. As many as 200M peoples were estimated to die in that pandemic and it took more than 200 years for the population to recover to its previous level.
Plague never ended really, it has returned many times in the history of mankind. However, various methods were applied to slow down its spread. The term quarantine was originated after this black death disease and is still in practice today.
According to the WHO, there are still 1000-3000 plague cases every year, however, modern sanitation and public health practices have slowed down the black death sharply. And we have enough strong antibiotics to treat the black death now.
However we humans have the best quality to persevere from any kind of situation. We still stand tall on this planet regardless of these consequent attack of viruses.