Spanish flu (Influenza A H1N1)1918-1920
Spanish flu, also known as the Great Influenza epidemic or the 1918 influenza pandemic, was an exceptionally deadly global influenza pandemic caused by the H1N1 influenza A virus. The earliest documented case was March 1918 in Kansas, United States, with further cases recorded in France, Germany and the United Kingdom in April. Two years later, nearly a third of the global population, or an estimated 500 million people, had been infected in four successive waves. Estimates of deaths range from 17 million to 50 million, and possibly as high as 100 million, making it one of the deadliest pandemics in human history. The name 'Spanish flu' is a misnomer, rooted in historical othering of infectious disease origin, which is now avoided. The pandemic broke out near the end of World War I, when wartime censors suppressed bad news in the belligerent countries to maintain morale, but newspapers freely reported the outbreak in neutral Spain. These stories created a false impression of Spain as the epicenter, so press outside Spain adopted the name 'Spanish' flu. Limited historical epidemiological data make the pandemic's geographic origin indeterminate, with competing hypotheses on the initial spread.Most influenza outbreaks disproportionately kill the young and old, with a higher survival rate in-between, but this pandemic had unusually high mortality for young adults. Scientists offer several explanations for the high mortality, including a six-year climate anomaly affecting migration of disease vectors with increased likelihood of spread through bodies of water. The virus was particularly deadly because it triggered a cytokine storm, ravaging the stronger immune system of young adults, although the viral infection was apparently no more aggressive than previous influenza strains. Malnourishment, overcrowded medical camps and hospitals, and poor hygiene, exacerbated by the war, promoted bacterial superinfection, killing most of the victims after a typically prolonged death bed.The 1918 Spanish flu was the first of three flu pandemics caused by H1N1 influenza A virus; the most recent one was the 2009 swine flu pandemic. The 1977 Russian flu was also caused by H1N1 virus, but it mostly affected younger populations. The ongoing pandemic of COVID-19, which began in December 2019 and is caused by SARS-CoV-2, is the deadliest respiratory virus pandemic since the Spanish flu.Source: Wikipedia
1846-1860 Cholera pandemic
The third cholera pandemic (1846–1860) was the third major outbreak of cholera originating in India in the nineteenth century that reached far beyond its borders, which researchers at UCLA believe may have started as early as 1837 and lasted until 1863. In Russia, more than one million people died of cholera. In 1853–54, the epidemic in London claimed over 10,000 lives, and there were 23,000 deaths for all of Great Britain. This pandemic was considered to have the highest fatalities of the 19th-century epidemics.It had high fatalities among populations in Asia, Europe, Africa and North America. In 1854, which was considered the worst year, 23,000 people died in Great Britain. That year, the British physician John Snow, who was working in a poor area of London, identified contaminated water as the means of transmission of the disease. After the 1854 Broad Street cholera outbreak he had mapped the cases of cholera in the Soho area in London, and noted a cluster of cases near a water pump in one neighborhood. To test his theory, he convinced officials to remove the pump handle, and the number of cholera cases in the area immediately declined. His breakthrough helped eventually bring the epidemic under control. Snow was a founding member of the Epidemiological Society of London, formed in response to a cholera outbreak in 1849, and he is considered one of the fathers of epidemiology.Source: Wikipedia
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