11 Worst Epidemics that Affected Humans in History

The worst plague in history claimed over 20 million lives in 2 years. Something so tiny destroyed so many.  In the wake of the Coronavirus, Covid-19 outbreak we are now looking at some of the worst epidemics, plagues and other diseases that spread through populations in history.  These ten diseases quickly spread through populations like wildfire, leaving man persons dead.



The Measles diseases developed back in the days when there was no vaccine for measles, millions of people died from the disease. Those born before 1957 are most likely the ones who got measles.

The Third Cholera
The Third Cholera pandemic – the victims of this disease had hellish final days with Diarrhea, vomiting that leave them with severe dehydration. The most deaths of any pandemic, it spread across Europe, North America, Africa and Asia before it spread across to Russia where over 1 million people died. It took a very severe outbreak before the cure for Cholera was found, Dr John Snow found out that the water was not safe and then water was boiled in 1854.

Cholera was finally under control when the water was safe after it was filtered and boiled for a minute.

The Asian Flu
The Asian Flu pandemic was missed by the world health organization some persons believe. It was said that the Influenza “A” virus started in China, but the exact origins of the virus has been contested. Sources revealed that a mutation in wild ducks joined the typical human strain to create the new disease. This was one of the top three flu pandemics in the 20th century. A vaccine was created in 1957 there were 40 million doses of vaccine used.

The Typhus Epidemic
The world war one Typhus epidemic, a result of world war 1, it was caused by bacteria, symptoms were severe back pain and Delirium it originated with Lice. Delousing stations for the soldiers were set up on the Western front. Troupes were kept healthy at delousing stations.

The Eastern front was not so lucky and by the peak between 25 and 30 million cases were reported in the Soviet Regions with 3 million Russians and more Romanians dying from infections.

The Konkolesky Plague
The  Konkolesky plague is categorized in a group of illnesses that continues to attack humanity, with viruses such as Ebola and the Viral Hemorrhagic fever, affected the Aztecs badly, and they were already reeling from other diseases brought to their shores by others who lived in other countries.

A Black tongue, dysentery, severe abdominal pain, bleeding from their noses eyes and mouth were the symptoms persons had. The Ebola like disease wiped out a thriving population. The Aztec empire vanished and with it a legacy of astonishing engineering achievement.

The Justinian Plague

The Justinian Plague
The plague of Justinian turned out to be one of the most feared pandemics in history. It was brought by infected rats travelling from Egypt on grain boats. It was blamed on Empress Theodora and people said it was caused by her sexual promiscuity and she was being punished by God. The plague left the empire devastated.

An event that left an Empire short of healthy citizens that could act as labourers or military personnel the empire was severely weakened. It started with a severe fever, chills and an increased sensitivity to light.

The mortality rate of this plague took 5 thousand lives each day, at its peak. the first wave of the disease eradicated 40% of the population. The population sporadically  was attacked and many killed in several more waves in the years that followed.

The future looked pitch black for Europe until it was cured.

The Antonine Plague
The Antonine plague came to the Roman Empire because of soldiers, returning from fighting in Western Asia. Some thought smallpox or measles were to blame. Coughing, runny nose and a high fever of 104 degrees. The rash appeared 3 to 5 days later. It wasn’t as deadly as Justinian. With 2000 dying per day at its pinnacle, It claimed the lives of 2 Roman Emperors and it plunged the land into fear and chaos and could have changed the course of history.

The Bubonic Plague
The Bubonic plague came after the black death and the Justinian plague. It ravaged the world for over a century, this plague was caused by infected rats.

Every rat captured was tested for signs of disease, anyone who brought in a rat dead or alive was paid 10 cents. This plague ravaged the world for over a century. Brought in on a boat from the far east, the plague was lurking in the sewers beneath the cities.

12 million in China and India died before it ended in 1959 when death rates dropped to 200 according to the World Health Organization the plague allowed doctors and scientists to study the infection and develop treatments and this helped to stave off another outbreak.

Sources revealed that the HIV-AIDS virus started infecting people sometime in the 20th century in 1959 in the Congo. In the early 1980’s the disease was detected and named in the US. The epidemic was spread after that but there was early ignorance that the disease was seen as one that was exclusive to homosexual males and intravenous drug users it attacked those who didn’t take precautions indiscriminately and without mercy.

Over 50,000 men women and children now carry the AIDS virus and it is theorized that it was spread from primates to humans sometime in the 20th century.

A positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia people living with HIV are often rejected by family and the community where they live, this humiliation can be unbearable. After many years and the death of many persons scientists have been making head way in developing treatment and now there are persons who are living longer than before. Sub Saharan Africa is still badly affected by this disease.

However, there is a much higher prevalence of AIDS today and it is easier for persons to be exposed to it now as the persons who are infected are not showing any symptoms.


Various strains of the influenza virus have wreaked havoc on the world again and again. 500 million people have been afflicted over the years; it has killed between 500 to 100 million people, mainly adults. It causes high fever and most flu viruses are dangerous for the very young and the very old and those who are already weakened, but this strain of the H1N1 virus caused the immune system of its victims to go into over drive and attacks the body, and the healthier the immune system the more violent the result.

It affected countries across the Globe even the Pacific islands and the Arctic. The outbreak named the Spanish flu was labelled as one of history’s worst natural disasters.

The Black Death
The Black Death was devastating and few who caught it ever recovered, it seemed as if 1 man could infect the whole world, the spread was rapid, it peaked in the 14th century but it affected Europe until the 17th century. The Black death killed between 30 to 60 % of Europe’s population at the time.

In just 2 years, it swept across western Europe and spread North to England and then to Scandinavia. It was suspected to be related to the Bubonic plague that was recognized by the tumors that covered the victim’s bodies. Bodies littered the streets because so many died rapidly, and cemeteries were filled. Some citizens turned to God for help and some attempted quarantines.

There was very little that could be done to stop the infection from spreading. Businesses collapsed, families were torn apart and states were bankrupted because of the loss of taxes. It was hard to see loved ones suffering while fearing that you’ll be next.

The black death was named and tamed by the middle of the 20th century, after antibiotics were developed and rats were killed.

After the black death the plague returned to Europe every few years, it was not as fierce as the first time until the mid 17th century, but the plague would always return to Europe.

The Best Thing To Do In This Current Covid-19 Outbreak Is To Self Isolate

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