Evolution is part of the human history. As humans evolved, so did disease. While pandemics have been wiping out humans, medical practitioners have always been on front to contain the diseases with their practices.
Throughout History, Humans Have Weathered Much Bigger Crises Than Covid19
But now times have changed. With the help of technology things have been bit easy or say flexible.
Around three million people, till date, have been affected by the Covid19 outbreak and approx two lakh have died. Here are some of the history’s pandemics all around the world that you must know about to maintain faith and keep going strong. Humans have been remarkably resilient and just like all these, Covid19 too will pass.
Spanish flu (1918-1920)
The Spanish flu also known as 1918 flu was one of the deadliest pandemic in the world’s history, infected approx one third of the total population of the world.
It’s name was adopted as Spanish flu because Spain was hard hit by the flu and there media was the only one who covered the pandemic from the start. As there sources were only one reporting on the flu, many believed it originated in Spain.
Flu reached India through ship of returning soldiers that docked in Mumbai in 1918. Influenza took lives of approx 18 million Indians, more than all casualties in World War I.
Mahatma Gandhi was also struck with this flu, but was lucky to recover. It was the time when India was mostly relied in traditional medicines and western medicines were not accepted widely.
Bombay (now Mumbai) was the source of spread back then and had highest number of people affected by Spanish flu. And now, Maharashtra – who’s capital is Mumbai- is worst affected state from coronavirus.
Small pox (1980)
Small pox holds very important place in medicines, as it is only human disease which was eradicated by vaccination. It is estimated that approx 300 million people died in 20th century due to smallpox.
Origin of this outbreak is unknown, it was highly contagious disease for which Edward Jenner developed the vaccine in 1798. Caused by Variola virus, the infection was far cry during the 20th century. The disease is tight to date back to Egyptian Empire around the 3rd century BCE.
The early written description in India appeared in 7th century and in Asia around 10th century. In 1959, WHO initiated plan to eradicate smallpox, but due to unwanted barriers it was unsuccessful. But the international organisation again initiated extensive programme with more renewed efforts after a decade. Almost two centuries after vaccination was developed, WHO officially declared the world free of the smallpox on May 8, 1980.
HIV/AIDS – 1981 to present
HIV, the virus which is responsible to cause AIDS, has claimed approx 35 million lives since its identification.
The virus is likely developed from chimpanzee virus that transferred to humans in West Africa in 1920s. Still there is no cure of the global pandemic, but medications developed in 1990s now allow people to live a normal life with regular works.
On a positive note, two people have been cured of HIV/AIDS till 2020. Adam Castillejo, earlier known as ‘London patient’ has been cured in 2019 after undergoing special bone-marrow transplant. First patient to be cured of HIV, Timothy Brown, received similar bone-marrow transplant in 2007 and has been HIV-free since then. He was also known as ‘Berlin patient’s.
Asian flu (1957-1958)
Another pandemic which was another global showing for influenza claimed not less than one million lives.
The 1957 outbreak was caused by virus known as influenza A sub type H2N2. According to researchers the virus was a mixed species strain, originated from human and avian influenza viruses. The virus was first reported from Singapore in February, 1957.
It was the second major influenza pandemic to be occurred in 20th century. And after a decade of evolution, the flu disappeared through anti genetic shift, which gave rise to 1968 flu pandemic.
The Black Death (1346 to 1353)
The pandemic in 14th century is well known to historians, caused by the bacterium Yersinia Pestis.
Blackdeath was global epidemic that struck Europe and Asia claiming 60 per cent if Europe’s entire population.
Ole Jorgen Benedictow, in his book ‘The Black Death, 1346-1353: The Compelte History’ suggests that the name was actually a “misunderstanding, a mistranslation of the Latin expression ‘atramors’, meaning at the same time terrible and black.”
The bacterium pestis circulates among wild rodents where they live in great numbers. Plague in rodents become danger when they come in contact with human habitation.
It is also believed the plague originated in Asia over 2,000 years ago. It spread likely by shipping trade and research suggests that Black death may have existed in Europe as early as 3000 B.C.
SARS – 2003
According to WHO, a total of 8,098 people became sick with SARS during the 2003 outbreak, in which 774 people died.
The main of the spread of virus was close person-to-person contact. The virus is thought to be transmitted by respiratory droplets, which happens when one sneeze.
It can also spread when one touches nose, face or mouth with contaminated hands. SARS outbreak was first from China. After Tiananmen crackdown this was first time that China was looking towards economic breakdown.
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It was the first pandemic of 21st century. There are seven variants of coronavirus known to infect human.
SARS and Covid-19 are closely related versions of that. The outbreak, which affected 26 countries, was short lived, started in November 2002 the last case was reported in July 2003.
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