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Transmissible diseases existed during humankind’s hunter-gatherer days, but the shift to agrarian life 10,000 years ago created communities that made epidemics more possible.
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The earliest recorded pandemic happened during the Peloponnesian War. It passed through Libya, Ethiopia, and Egypt, and it reached Athens as the Spartans laid siege. Two-thirds of the population died.
The disease, suspected to have been typhoid fever, weakened the Athenians significantly and played a big role in their defeat by the Spartans.
It may have been an early appearance of smallpox that began with the Huns.
The Huns then infected the Germans, who passed it to the Romans and then returning troops spread it throughout the Roman empire. This plague continued until about 180 A.D., claiming Emperor Marcus Aurelius as one of its victims.
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Cholera is a bacterial infection and is mainly contracted through food and water.
The largest cholera outbreak originated in India and spread beyond its borders, killing about 23 000 people ...
The Asian Flu Pandemic was an outbreak of avian influenza that started in China and spread worldwide.
The estimated death rate was one to two million people.
Typhus fever is spread by lice. The war brought on poor sanitation that probably led to a higher density of lice and made the transmission more prevalent.
Typhus fever caused three million deaths in Russia alone.
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Epidemics and other natural disasters tend to both illuminate and reinforce existing divisions.
History offers a precedent. Collective anger at low wages and poor working protections can produce lasting social change.
The pandemic may be bad for workers’ rights.
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