|The Plague of Justinian
- It killed between 30 million and 50 million people.
- The cause of the Plague of Justinian was infectious fever caused by Yersinia pestis.
- Between 1347 and 1351, it spread throughout Europe, killing approximately 25 million people.
- It is believed to have been the result of plague – an infectious fever caused by bacterium Yersinia pestis.
- It was likely transmitted from rodents to humans by the bite of infected fleas.
|Smallpox (15th – 17th centuries)
- Smallpox claimed the lives of approximately 20 million people, close to 90% of the population, in the Americas.
- The pandemic helped Europeans colonize and develop the newly vacated areas.
- Smallpox is caused by infection with the variola virus transmitted through various ways.
|Cholera (1817 – 1823)
- The first cholera pandemic began in Jessore, India.
- It was the first of 7 major cholera pandemics that have killed millions of people.
- The World Health Organization has called cholera “the forgotten pandemic”.
- Its seventh outbreak, which began in 1961, continues to this day.
- It is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with a bacterium called Vibrio cholera.
|Spanish Flu or H1N1 (1918 – 1919)
- It is caused due to H1N1 virus.
- It infected around 500 million people, or a third of the world’s population, of that time.
- The pandemic was responsible for killing over 50 million people globally.
|Hong Kong Flu or H3N2 (1968 – 1970)
- Global fatalities were around one million.
- It was caused by an H3N2 strain of the influenza A virus.
- It is believed that the virus responsible for the Asian flu evolved and re-emerged 10 years later into this so-called “Hong Kong flu”.
- H3N2 was exceptionally contagious.
|HIV/AIDS (1981 – present)
- Since 1981, 75 million people have had the HIV virus and approximately 32 million have died as a result.
- HIV/AIDS is a persistent epidemic that continues to impact millions of people every year.
- The HIV infection is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
- The virus can be transmitted through contact with infected blood, semen or vaginal fluids.
|SARS (2002 – 2003)
- SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, is an illness caused by one of the 7 coronaviruses that can infect humans.
- In 2003, an outbreak that originated in the Guangdong province of China became a global pandemic.
- It infected around 8,000 people and killing 774 of them.
- The consequences of the 2003 SARS pandemic were largely limited due to an intense public health response by global authorities.
|Swine Flu or H1N1 (2009 – 2010)
- It was a new form of the influenza virus which emerged in 2009.
- It infected approximately millions of people with global deaths in the range of 151,700 to 575,400.
- It is called the “swine flu” because it appeared to cross over from pigs to humans in transmission.
- 80% of the virus-related deaths occured in people younger than 65.
|Ebola (2014 – 2016)
- It began in a small village in Guinea in 2014 and spread to a handful of neighbouring countries in West Africa.
- It is caused by infection with a virus of the Filoviridae family, genus Ebolavirus.
- The virus killed 11,325 of the 28,600 infected people, with most cases occurring in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
|Coronavirus, or COVID-19 (2019 – present)
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.
- Worldwide cases have surpassed 500,000 with more than 24,000 deaths globally.
- It is believed to be transmitted from animals to humans.
- The vast majority of cases are reported from USA now.
- On March 11, the WHO characterized the outbreak as a pandemic.
- Estimates indicate that Coronavirus could eventually infect 40% to 70% of the global population.
- Practicing social distancing is recommended.
- The damage to the world economy threaten the worst recession since the Great Depression or the “panics” of the 1800s, depending on the scale of government responses.