Pandemics That Shaped Our World


Because a virus doesn't care about state lines or national borders, it can wipe out millions and span multiple continents rapidly. Here is a look at the infectious diseases the world has battled throughout the history.

What is a Pandemic?
Derived from the greek word pandemos meaning "pertaining to all people," a pandemic is a widespread disease that affects humans over a wide geographic area.

SMALLPOX 10,000 BC - 1979
300+ million dead.
Symptoms: Fever, Headache, Fatigue, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Lesions.

In terms of an estimated death toll, smallpox is the deadliest pandemic in history. The highly contagious, rash- inducing infection has killed more than 500 million people. Some believe that 90 percent of the native population of the New World was wiped out by the disease.

MEASLES 7th Century BC - 1963
200 million dead.
Symptoms: Fever, Rash, Cough, Sore Throat, Red Eyes.

SPANISH FLU 1918 - 1919
50-100 million dead.
Symptoms: Fatigue, Fever, Headache, Skin Discoloration, Bleeding, Vomiting.

BLACK DEATH 1340 - 1771
75 million dead.
Symptoms: Bubo (it's an abnormal swelling of the lymph nodes).

Ring Around the Rosie, a Pocket Full of Plague.
Legend says the Black Death plague inspired the children's rhyme "Ring Around The Rosy," which alluded to the rash-like rings and ashes of the deceased victims.

HIV / AIDS 1981 - Today
25+ million dead.
Symptoms: Fever, Chills, Bubo, Weight Loss.

PLAGUE OF JUSTINIAN 541 - 750
25 million dead.
Symptoms: Fever, Chills, Seizures, Bubo, Skin Discoloration.

THIRD PANDEMIC 1855
12 million dead.
Symptoms: Fever, Headache, Fatigue, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Lesions.

TYPHUS 430 BC - Today
4 million dead.
Symptoms: Lesions, Fever, Cough, Headache, Nausea, Vomiting.

CHOLERA 1817 - Today
3 million dead.
Symptoms: Diarrhea, Vomiting, Nausea, Dehydration.

HONG KONG FLU 1968 - 1969
1 million dead.
Symptoms: Fever, Headache, Fatigue, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Lesions.

Honorable Mentions
Although the following viruses do not have a figure for total amount of lives claimed, they continue to terrorize various areas around the world.

MALARIA 1600 - Today
Common symptoms: Chills, Headache, Fever, Jaundice, Muscle Pain, Nausea, Vomiting, Seizures.
Death toll: According to the World Health Organization's 2010 "World Malaria Report," an estimated 781,000 people are killed by the virus every year.

TUBERCULOSIS 700 BC - Today
Common symptoms: Chest Pain, Cough, Fever, Chills, Fatigue.
Death toll: There are almost 2 million tuberculosis-related deaths worldwide every year.

YELLOW FEVER 16th Century - Today
Common symptoms: Bleeding, Fever, Nausea, Vomiting, Delirium, Seizures, Jaundice
Death toll : Worldwide, 30 000 deaths are caused by the infection every year.