When the world is suffering a lot due to the Covid-19 infection, it’s time that we look back to the history. This is not the first time that the world witnesses an epidemic. Millions of people have succumbed to death within a flick of time due to many viruses. These are the most terror-stricken pandemics that passed by the timeline:
Small pox (19th Century)
It is a contagious disease caused by the variola virus. It is estimated that smallpox killed 300 to 500 million people during the 20th century. After successful vaccination campaigns throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the WHO certified the eradication of smallpox in December 1979.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks cells that help the body fight infections and disease. The disease AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) has no any recognizable treatment so far. It was first identified in Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1976. Since 1981, it has killed more than 36 million people. Currently there are between 31 and 35 million people living with HIV, majority in the Sub-Saharan Africa.
Sixth Cholera Pandemic (1899–1923)
It was a major outbreak of cholera the originated in India, where it killed more than 800,000 people. Later it spread to the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe and Russia. The 1902–1904 cholera epidemic claimed 200,000 lives in the Philippines including their revolutionary hero and first prime minister Apolinario Mabini. Cholera broke out 27 times during the Hajj at Mecca from the 19th century to 1930.
Spanish Flu (1918 to 1920)
It was an influenza pandemic caused by an H1N1 virus, exactly a century before Covid-19 outbreak. It spread around the world between 1918 and 1919. The virus was linked with an avian (bird) origin, though its exact origin was unclear. According to the CDC estimates, it infected about 500 million people (or one-third of the world’s population). It ultimately caused least 50 million deaths worldwide.
Swine Flu (2009)
This is the most recent flu pandemic caused by a novel influenza virus, H1N1. The virus is said to be first detected in the US, from where it spread quickly cross the world. The CDC estimated that it caused up to 575,400 deaths worldwide. This flu pandemic primarily affected children and middle-aged adults (older adults had immunity. The pandemic ended in 2010. However, the (H1N1)-pdm09 virus still continues to circulate as a seasonal flu virus, causing deaths worldwide every year.
SARS Cov (2002)
The virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, first appeared in 2002 in the Guangdong province of southern China, according to the WHO. The virus likely emerged in bats, initially, then hopped into nocturnal mammals called civets before finally infecting humans. After triggering an outbreak in China, SARS spread to 26 countries around the world, infecting more than 8000 people and killing more than 770 over the course of two years.
SARS Cov-2 (2019 to present)
Not much need to be elaborated, as we are currently going through this tough epidemic time. The outbreak began in China in December 2019 has spread to over 200 countries, killing more than 33,000 lives so far. Scientists and medical researchers are yet to find any cure or vaccine for the deadly virus. The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Covid-19 a pandemic in March. The organisation defines pandemic as the worldwide spread of a new disease.
Observing personal hygiene and maintaining social distancing are the ever efficient methods to save ourselves from these deadly infections.