Our history is being written “Pandemics Throughout History”
Written by; Pernell Husband CST CRCST
Epidemics have visited humanity throughout its existence, often redirecting the course of history. Disease outbreaks have ravaged and, at times, signaled the end of entire civilizations. Let’s talk about some of the worst epidemics and pandemics, dating from prehistoric to our particular moment in time.
5,000 years ago, an apparent epidemic wiped out a prehistoric village in China. Bodies of the dead were stuffed inside a house that was later burned down. All ages were attacked, Skeletons of babies, young adults and middle-age people were found inside the house. People who study this kind of thing tell us, the epidemic happened so quickly that there was no time for proper burials, and the evidence shows, that the site was not inhabited again.
Around 430 B.C., An epidemic struck the people of Athens, it lasted for five years. Some estimates put the death toll as high as 100,000 people. A Greek historian wrote, “people in good health were all of a sudden attacked by violent heats in the head, and redness and inflammation in the eyes, the inward parts, such as the throat or tongue, becoming bloody and emitting an unnatural and fetid breath”
The American Plagues were a cluster of diseases brought to the Americas by European explorers. These illnesses, including smallpox, in part led to the destruction and collapse of the Inca and Aztec civilizations. Estimates suggest that 90% of the indigenous population in the Western Hemisphere were killed by the pathogen.
An estimated 500 million people from every continent of the world, became infected by Spanish flu. It’s spread and deadliness was made worse by the cramped conditions of soldiers and poor wartime nutrition during World War I. It is estimated that between 50 to a hundred million people were killed. Also known as the 1918 flu pandemic, it was unusually deadly, lasting from January 1918 to December of 1920,. The death toll is estimated to have been anywhere from 17 million to 50 million, and possibly as high as 100 million, making it one of the deadliest pandemics in human history.
In November 2002, a rare form of pneumonia called severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), a viral respiratory illness began spreading rapidly around the world. Over 8,000 people were infected worldwide and nearly 800 died. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the sickness “a worldwide health threat.” At the epicenter China, the outbreak infected more than 5,300 people and killed 349. SARS is caused by a previously unrecognized corona virus (SARS-COV).