Sunday, September 21, 2014

5 Deadliest Pandemics Of All Time

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(Daniel Jennings)  Epidemics made our civilization what it is today, and new outbreaks like Ebola could completely change our world. Studying the history of these plagues can give us a sense of a pandemic’s power – and help us prepare for future outbreaks.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – a philanthropy devoted to public health – listed the five deadliest pandemics in history accompanied by eye-opening and frightening statistics. Following is the list:
1. The Black Death, 1347 to 1351. This outbreak of the bubonic plague was the worst in human history and killed between 75 million and 200 million people at a time when the world’s population was only 450 million. Historians are unsure about the number of dead but they do believe that half the population of Europe died within four years.
The disease that caused the Black Death is still with us. In July, Chinese authorities quarantined the city of Yumen after a local farmer died of the plagueThe Guardian reported. During the same week four people were diagnosed with bubonic plague in Colorado.

2. The Spanish Flu or “La Grippe.” This deadly strain of influenza killed between 50 and 100 million in 1918 and 1919 during World War I. It actually killed more people than World War I itself (37 million). The Spanish Flu killed about 675,000 people in the United States — 10 times the number of US soldiers killed in World War I. Some scientists have compared La Grippe to recent influenza outbreaks. One-third of the world’s population caught it.
Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison announced in June that they had succeeded in using genetic engineering to create a strain of influenza similar to that which caused the Spanish Flu. It is easy to see why Lord May, the former chief scientific advisor to the British government, called the work “crazy and exceedingly dangerous.”
3. HIV/AIDS. Around 60 million people have been infected with AIDS since it was first reported in 1981. Nearly half of them – that is, 25 million — have died of AIDS. Another 35.3 million are living with HIV. There is no cure for AIDS, nor is there a vaccine that protects against it, although drugs can control the effects of the disease and dramatically improve the health of those who have it.
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