Pandemics have been a part of the world’s history since the dawn of time. Over the past centuries, many different pandemics have taken over the world. Infectious diseases flourish with human civilization. This means that when we are talking about the next pandemic, we say “when it happens” not “if it happens”.
Dr. Israel Figa states that a pandemic is declared when an infectious disease spreads in different countries and leaves many people seriously ill. The contagious infections are spread through physical touch, close proximity, poor sanitation, etc. Since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic in mid-March, 2020, people have been curious about the previous pandemics that severely affected human civilization. Let’s take a look at some of the world’s worst pandemics and how they were controlled.
List Of The World’s Worst Pandemics
Black Deaths was one of the deadliest pandemics which spread to many parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia. The main transmitters of this disease were rats who carried infected fleas and got on ships with the merchants. Traveling with and exposing the disease to the ship staff as well as to the people at their next stop. The death toll of this pandemic is estimated to be somewhere in the range of 75 million to 200 million people worldwide.
This contagious disease gave birth to the idea of quarantines and required newly arrived sailors to practice isolation on their ships for at least 30 days.
The Great Plague of London
The great plague of London is reported to have spread soon after the Black Death and is also known as the bubonic plague. This plague alone killed almost 20% of London’s population. Mass graves had to be dug to keep up with the death rate. Cats and dogs were identified to be the carriers and transmitters of this disease and as a result, thousands were slaughtered.
This was an influenza pandemic that took over the world between 1918 and 1919. Within a span of one year, the Spanish Flue had infected about 500 million people worldwide. The number of deaths caused by this pandemic amounts up to 50 million. This disease was created from an H1N1 virus which is said to have originated from a bird. This pandemic targeted the lungs. It caused the affected people to have liquid-filled lungs, pneumonia, and inflammation in the lungs. Dr. Israel Figa explains that this disease is still present in some parts of the world. However, it can be treated with modern-day medicine.
Rather than a pandemic, Smallpox was declared as an epidemic in the 15th century. An epidemic is a disease that only affects people from certain areas. The real destruction of smallpox began when it reached different parts of the world thanks to European explorers in the 15th century. The disease was one of the first virus epidemics to be treated with a vaccine. The death rate of smallpox was so high that it reduced the 11 million pre-conquest population of Mexico to one million. It took over two centuries for the world to eradicate this deadly disease.
Cholera is a pandemic that is still active in third-world countries which lack proper water and sewage systems. The disease was quickly cut down in developed countries such as America which reported its last affected deaths in 1923. They were able to do so by isolating the infected people and providing clean water resources and sewage systems. However, third-world countries still have traces of this deadly disease.
Flu Pandemic of 1968
The flu pandemic of 1968 was discovered in China 1968. The pandemic was the third global pandemic flu of the 20th century. It had a high death rate of 1 million people worldwide. This flu is also known as the Hong Kong Flu and is considered to be another form of the Asian Flu pandemic of 1957. Both these infections are related to a few changes in the genes of the bacteria.
The swine flu was another variation of H1N1 influenza. This disease was similar to that of the flu pandemic of 1968 and affected mostly children and young adults. A possible explanation for this is that elderly people may have developed immunity towards it due to exposure to similar viruses. The pandemic was reported to have ended in 2010 with a death toll of 575,400 people across the world. However, it still can be found in the form of seasonal flu that causes serious medical problems and even deaths every year.
HIV stands for Human immunodeficiency virus and AIDS for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome came to notice in the 1980s. The majority of the infected people by this disease belonged to the American gay communities. However, research shows that this infection actually originated from a chimpanzee infection during the 1920s. This disease is recognized as a pandemic because it has caused around 25 million deaths worldwide. Thanks to modern medicine, this virus is more treatable now than it was before.
The Bottom Line
As human civilization evolves, so do these infectious diseases. Dr. Israel Figa has provided a detailed description of the previous pandemics that altered the course of reality. People of all times regarded the current pandemic as the worst consequence of human civilization intermingling with nature. As mentioned earlier, when scientists talk about global pandemics they refer to it as “when” and not “if”. The world will never be free of pandemic waves; however, modern-day medicine and technology will allow faster development of vaccines to battle them
Pandemics always seemed to be a thing of the past because who would have thought that we would be living through one ourselves. Thanks to the era that we live in now, we have been able to develop vaccines after just one year where previously people had to wait 8-15 years for a vaccine to be developed. To get rid of the COVID-19 pandemic for good, everyone should make sure that they get vaccinated when the vaccine becomes available in their region. Becoming immune to the disease is the only way to defeat it.