Dangerous pandemics: 5 viruses that have spread worldwide
Pandemic: An infectious disease that spreads globally within a few months. Although the coronavirus is still not described as a pandemic by the WHO, many fear that it will happen. But the disease is not the first to have spread rapidly worldwide. There are many other dangerous pandemics that humanity has survived. What are the viruses that have spread rapidly in the past and how did the best-known pandemics go?
Dangerous pandemics: what's behind the term?
For many people, a pandemic is deadly. In reality, the term only refers to the spread of the virus. For example, a bird flu pandemic broke out in 2005, which was not as deadly as the local Ebola epidemic in Africa three years ago. Here is an overview of the most famous pandemics in human history:
1. The SARS pandemic broke out in 2002. The next year, according to statistics, more than 8,000 people became infected, 800 of them died. At that time, like its relative corona virus two months ago, the virus suddenly appeared. The doctors suspect that a harmless pathogen has been transmitted from animals to humans. The virus mutated and became more lethal. A diagnostic test was developed at the time, but since the disease was brought under control within a year, no vaccine was developed.
2. Swine flu broke out as a pandemic in 2009, when many doctors expected deaths to be high. The pandemic continued for a year and the researchers were able to successfully develop a vaccine. Even so, more than 18,000 people died at the time.
3. Avian flu worried many doctors in 2005. The main fear was that the virus, which was transmitted from birds to humans, could mutate. Although the flu spread worldwide, WHO reported fewer than 450 victims.
Fortunately, a large proportion of all pandemics that are classified as such do not lead to a high death toll. There have been exceptions in the past:
4. Smallpox (Variola) broke out in Mexico in 1519, then quickly spread among the Indian population. Around 6 million Indians died from it.
5. There have also been several cholera outbreaks over the centuries, the last of which occurred in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. It was classified by the WHO as a pandemic.
6. The Spanish flu at the beginning of the last century, which killed over 50 million people worldwide, is arguably the best known pandemic in the world.
As fearsome as these deadly pandemics sound, researchers believe that the high death toll is due to poor living conditions and hygiene.
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