We’ve heard of the coronavirus attack, which has claimed the lives of over a thousand people in China and some other countries around the world. Coupled with the fact that it was said to be spreading to Africa and other parts of the world, Health experts are already claiming that this is appearing to be one of the deadliest viruses to have hit humans for some time now.
Although there have been some records of success in finding a cure for the virus, the fact that it has already claimed lives makes it one of the deadliest viruses in history. This article is looking to go down memory lane and take a look at some of the most terrible epidemics that have hit humans in history.
This list is going to look at the genesis of the diseases, how it started and the steps that were taken to curb it. It will also look at the number of lives each of them claimed. Furthermore, the issues split among the experts. With some claiming that the virus is an epidemic, while others are proceeding on the fact that it is pandemic.
As said earlier, there have been some terrible epidemics down the road in history that claimed lots of lives. This piece will look at some of the deadliest diseases we’ve had in history; looking at the number of lives it claimed to be the basis of how deadly it was, and the measures taken to curb its excesses.
#1. Antonine Plague
This was one of the deadliest epidemics in history. It was also called the Plague of Galen. It was a disease brought back by the Roman troops coming back from the war in the Near East. The real cause of remained vague but from the descriptions experts have posited that it could have been either smallpox or measles.
The disease is said to have happened between 165 and 180 AD and was said to claim 2000 lives daily. This is roughly one-quarter of the people affected, and it was said to have a mortality rate of about 25% of the total lives the epidemic claimed is put at roughly 5 million. Furthermore, the disease put an end to the lives of about a third of the population of some areas and the Roman army was devastated.
#2. Plague of Justinian
This is a plague that was said to have happened around 541 to 542 AD. It was named after the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire during the time the plague came knocking, Justinian I. He was also said to have been afflicted with the plague himself but somehow managed to survive.
The plague was said to be one of the deadliest epidemics in history as it was said to leave death in its wake. Estimated to have taken about 25-50 million lives, which is a death-toll equivalent of around 13-26% of the world’s population at the time. There were some speculations among historians that the cause of the Plague of Justinian was a bacterium called Yersinia pestis, the same bacterium responsible for the Black Plaque.
Strains of the bacterium were found in the Tian Shan, a system of mountain ranges on the borders of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and China, which brought the suggestion that the Justinian Plague might have originated from that area.
#3. Black Death
This is one of the most devastating epidemics in history. It was said to have resulted in an estimated 75-200 million deaths in Eurasia. It was said to have happened in 1347 through 1351. It is also known as Pestilence or the Great Plague.
The cause is believed to be the bacterium, Yersinia pestis and was said to have originated in the dry plains of either Central Asia or East Asia. It is said to have travelled along the Silk Road and reached Crimea by 1343. It was now spread from there to the Mediterranean Basin and Europe by fleas living on black rats that travelled on the merchant ships.
The Black Death is said to have set the world population back from an estimated 475 million to around 350-375 million in the 14th century. It was not until 200 years later before the world could get back to that level. The plague was said to have resurfaced once in a while as outbreaks in Europe until the 19th century.
This is one of the most recent outbreaks in the line of deadly epidemics and at present, it is threatening to run through the whole world. As it stands, the disease is affecting mainland China, with a lot of scanty cases in some other countries, including the UK and the US.
The symptoms of the disease include fever, coughing and breathing problems. Furthermore, it was said to have an incubation period of 2 to 14 days and can be contagious during this period. Presently, the disease is said to have killed an estimated 1018 people with over 45,207 people infected. There is also the issue of severe cases of 7,345 and around 4,805 have recovered.
The disease is said to have first been discovered in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province in China. This was after 41 people were diagnosed with pneumonia without a clear cause. Presently, there is no definite treatment or vaccine, but some antivirals and treatment approaches are under investigation.
This is the most recent outbreak of the virus at present, although, its effects have been mooted by the more feared coronavirus. This was said to have been spotted in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
It was said that over 200 persons have reported themselves that they have symptoms of the virus. It is said to be very contagious, especially in ships, classrooms and other crowded places.
Symptoms of the virus include diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach ache. There is also the likelihood of having headaches and fever. The virus is said to be the common cause of gastroenteritis. The symptoms are likely to start manifesting within the next 12 to 48 hours after exposure and recovery is said to be just within a day. There is also the possibility of being dehydrated as part of the complications.
The present attack has not had any reports of deaths but it was reported that around 200,000 deaths are related to the Norovirus annually, with about 685 million cases reported every year.