First let’s be clear about the difference between an epidemic and pandemic. Epidemic is an outbreak of a flu or virus, which spreads from one to another. Pandemic is the spread of any flu or disease causing virus, globally. Let’s see a brief overview on some of the diseases that have plagued the world and how the human race overcame it
During 541AD, the first plague pandemic spread and killed almost between 2.5 million and 10 million people over the next half-century. The Justinian plague was the most devastating plague of the sixth century. The name comes from the name of the emperor who ruled the city at the time, “Justinian”. The disease, which started there and spread to other countries across the Mediterranean.
From 1346AD to 1353AD, another disease that afflicted the continents of Europe, Asia and Africa was the “black plague”. “Yersinia pestis” is the bacteria that caused the disease. The cause of the disease was found much later. It has been suggested that the disease may have been spread by parasites in rat bodies on merchant ships. The disease killed “30% – 60%” of people in Europe. The death toll from the disease is estimated at between 7.5 million and 20 million. Historians predict that this was one of the main diseases that changed the history of Europe in the Middle Ages.
The Spanish flu broke out when World War I came to an end. Although the name is Spanish, the origin of the disease is France. “French Flu” is the name given by the French to the mistaken idea that it comes from Spain. Therefore, the name has survived to this day. The disease is believed to have spread across the world between 1918 and 1919, claiming 5-10 billion lives.
The Germans blamed the disease for the defeat of the First World War. Most importantly, it is a disease that crosses all borders.Mahatma Gandhi, English poet DS, world famous Petra personalities like Elliott, Franklin Roosevelt and Walt Disney have also returned after getting sick. Lenin’s close companion Yakov, Donald Trump’s grandfather, was one of many who died from the disease.Medical researchers at the time say the general public examining the lungs of the dead was filled with blue fluid.
The virus was first discovered in 1976 on the banks of the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Therefore, the virus became known as Ebola. It has been diagnosed as a disease caused by fruit bats. (Yeah, the bats remind me of the Nipah virus). The disease does not directly affect people.
The disease first infects animals and then spreads from animals to humans, causing them to become extinct. After fever and physical exhaustion, it can lead to diarrhea, liver and kidney damage, and bleeding from the eyes, nose, or mouth.
The disease is transmitted to other people through wounds on the skin, mouth, nose, blood, vomiting, feces and body fluids. This guarantees that 50% of the attackers will die permanently. From 2014 to 2016, the spread of the disease in West Africa caused 11,000 deaths.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
SARS is the short form for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. Medical researchers believe that dogs in China may have transmitted the disease to humans. The first symptoms include fever, muscle cramps, lethargy, cough, and sore throat.
The patient may develop a first degree cold and severe shortness of breath. Between November 2002 and July 2003, the disease spread rapidly in Hong Kong, with 8,422 people worldwide and 916 deaths. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that the disease has spread to almost 37 countries within a few weeks of the outbreak.
As we all know, now we are facing another pandemic that is creating its own place in history. Yup, the Novel Coronavirus is what I am talking about. It has killed almost 7 lakhs people so far. Covid 19, gets the award for developing OTT platform, to another level. There are many other awards too but let’s stop it here for now.
Human race always finds a way to live with whatever disaster or pandemic that is hitting them. Knowing that the human race has lived past these many pandemics, we shall hope to live past this current pandemic too.