There were 10 plagues cast upon Egypt, according to the Bible. This is the first thing that comes to a Christian’s mind when hearing these two words. However, it was not only Egypt which was devastated by 10 plagues: the entire human kind had its share and they are not yet over. Of all the epidemics that marked the history of the world, these 10 were the most monstrous, as they decimated the population of the world and reduced its number with significant percents in a small amount of time.
Smallpox is the worst plague in the history of the human kind. It had been with us ssince as long as 10,000 BC and it did not leave us alone until 1979, when, thanks to extensive vaccination campaigns, it was completely eradicated from nature (first and only accomplishment of this kind).Only in the 20th century (not to mention the many years before it), Smallpox killed a striking 500 million peopled, causing 1/3 of the total number of victims to become blind and leaving an unimaginable number of people with life lasting scars. Scary enough, in Russia and USA, samples of this virus are still kept in specialized laboratories, for research purposes…
2. Black Death
What a creepy name, even for a disease! If you consider though, that it killed 75 million people in only 2 years (1348-1350), you may find it appropiate! Given the age when this plague took place, it is easy to understand why the scholars had a hard time determining the exact cause of one of the deadliest 10 plagues in the history of the human kind. They finally reached the conclusion that it must have been bubonic plague (Yersinia pestis). This awful disease killed somewhere between 30% and 60% of the entire World’s population!
3. 1918 Flu Pandemic
The Spanish flu, or the pandemic influenza was the first of the two unfortunate encounters of the humans with with the H1N1 virus. In 2009, when the second outbreak took place, medicine was much more advanced but it still killed more than 18,000 people. Thus, it is no surprise than almost a century before, in 1918, this deadly bug was responsible for the death of at least 50 million people (though as many as 100 million may have actually perished). It is said that this plague even reached the Arctic!
4. HIV Pandemic
Ranking third among the 10 plagues that devastated humankind is the AIDS pandemic which since its acknowledgement in 1981, led to the death of as much as 25 million people in the world. Even though so many years have passed, the death toll (not to mention a cure, I am sure you know that there is none) did not diminish, but by contrary, it is increasing, and it is currently estimated at 1.8 million deaths per year, which says a lot about this virus.
5. Plague of Justinian
This is a pandemic which took place long ago, in 541-542 A.D. again, the bubonic plague, one of the worst diseases that affected mankind , was responsible for this outbreak as well. This disease affected the Byzantine Empire the most, but it quickly spread in the entire world, devastating even Denmark and North Africa, for example. In order to imagine its extent, considering the fact that it was killing 100, 000 people in Constantinople every single day.
Malaria, spread by mosquitoes is a tropical and sub-tropical disease which causes 250 cases of disease every year, of which one million will result in death. However, most of the cases remain unknown, so the total death toll might be much higher. It is believed that it began infecting people 50,000 years ago!
Comprised in 7 pandemics beginning in 1816, this is justly one of the 10 plagues that killed the most human beings in history. It began in Bengal and it soon spread throughout the world, killing millions of people. Of all the cholera pandemics, the third ( 1852-1860)was the deadliest, killing 1 million people with the sixth coming close(1899-1923) because it counted 800,000 deaths.
Typhus is caused by a bacteria carried by rats and mice and passed to humans by means of their parasites. It is doing its greatest number of victims in situations, or in places where there is little or no hygiene, thus thriving in cases of war, for example. Killing thousands and hundreds of thousands every time it stroke, one of the 10 plagues that needs to be taken into consideration, is, without a doubt, the vicious typhus.
In the US, the cases of measles decreased since the ’90s due to intense immunization. However, in the developing countries, there are still numerous cases of measles, counting for 1 million deaths each year. Historically, measles was devastating, having killed around 200 million people worldwide only in the last 150 years! Also, back in our days, measles killed 777,000 people in one year (2000).
Shockingly, one third of the entire world population is infected with the Mycobacterium tuberculosis and a new infection occurs every second! However, (yet still stunning),only 5 % of these infections will result in the carrier getting sick. Statistics say that in the 19th century, this disease, the last of the 10 plagues named in this list, reduced the population of Europe with 25%. Also, in the 20th century, 100 million people died because of it.
Curiosity.com from Discovery