The Asian Flu Pandemic (1957)

The Asian Flu Pandemic (1957)

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.

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The Third Cholera Pandemic (1852-1860)

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 in Britain alone.

Typhus fever in World War 1 (1945)

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.

Cocolitzli epidemic (1576)

Cocolitzli refers to a collection of pests. Symptoms were much like Ebola but included a dark tongue, jaundice, and neck nodules.

Cocolotzli caused millions of deaths in the territory of New Spain, which is present-day Mexico.

This pandemic affected the Eastern Roman Empire, specifically Constantinople and port cities along the Mediterranean sea. Necrosis of the limbs was one of the terrifying symptoms.

An estimated 25 million people died. The plague returned in waves but was not as severe as this one.

Antonine Plague (165-180 AD)

Also known as the plague of Galen, this plague was possibly caused by smallpox or measles.

Almost 2 000 deaths per day were recorded in Rome. The total death toll was about 5 million.

The Third Plague Pandemic (1855)

This bubonic plague pandemic started in the Yunnan province in China. Over the next 20 years, rats carried the infectious fleas responsible for the disease to Hong Kong and port cities around the world.

It caused almost 10 million deaths.

The Great Plague started in China and spread all along trade routes to Constantinople and Europe.
An estimated 60% of the European population was wiped out.

The Great Flu claimed between 20 million and 40 million lives. This disease killed more people than WW1.

It is believed that HIV originated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo around 1920 when the disease was spread from chimpanzees to humans.

The first cases of AIDs were reported in 1981, and since then, HIV has resulted in an estimated 65 million infections and 25 million deaths.

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1889: Russian Flu

The first significant flu pandemic started in Siberia and Kazakhstan, traveled to Moscow, and made its way into Finland and then Poland, where it moved into the rest of Europe. By the following year, it had crossed the ocean into North America and Africa. By the end of 1890, 360,000 had died.

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An epidemic is a broad term used to describe any problem that is actively spreading and has grown out of control.

The pandemic relates to geographic spread. It describes a disease that affects a whole country or the entire world.

  • The original use of the word Quarantine was the act of anchoring a ship arrived in Venice, Italy, for 40 days before landing.
  • Infectiousness of any disease is measured by the reproduction number (R0, or R naught). For example, Smallpox has an R0 of 6 whereas Measles has an R0 of 16. 
  • Vaccination, if available, and herd immunity can curb the spread of disease.
  • Big cities, with exploding population and traffic, can lead to the rapid spread of any infectious disease.

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