Top 9 Worst Pandemics of the History


A Pandemic is a disease outbreak that spread across countries or continents. And an outbreak is when an illness happens in in unexpected high numbers. We all are suffering from the Covid-19 pandemic whose outcome is hard to predict but we can have a look at the worst pandemics that this world has seen! Here are the worst of all:

1. Antonine Plague

Photo source:,Roman troops returning from battles in the middle east brought back with the spoils of war, smallpox. It decimated the population of Rome and is thought to be the single greatest cause of the weakening of the Roman Empire in Northern and Eastern Europe. Killed the last great Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius Antoninius.

Time: 165 to 180 AD.

It was also called Plague of Galen and was an ancient pandemic brought to the Roman Empire in the ancient times though the true cause is still unknown. It was suspected to be small pox or measles. It affected Asia Minor, Egypt and Greece. This plague is also considered to be the starting point from where the Roman Empire started declining in the West. Talking about deaths, some historians say that the first outbreak caused 2,000 deaths per day in Rome and the second outbreaks increased it to 5,000 deaths per day.

2. Plague of Justinian

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Time: 541-549 AD

This Pandemic affected the entire Mediterranean Basin, Europe, and the Near East and severely affected the Constantinople. This contagious disease was caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. It is the same bacteria responsible for Black Death. Some historians believe that this pandemic killed up to 5,000 people per day in Constantinople when it was at its peak. There were subsequent waves of same plague appearing in the 6th, 7th and 8th centuries while the disease being more localized and less severe.

3. The Black Death

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Time: 1346-1353 AD

Black Death, also called the Pestilence or the Plague was the deadliest pandemic considered in human history. It affected majorly in Eurasia and North Africa and Europe and caused nearly 75-200 million deaths. The origins of this pandemic is still disputed. Some historians believe that it originated somewhere in Central Asia or East Asia and from there it was carried by parasites living on the black rats who traveled and helped in the spread of the Plague.

4. Third Cholera Pandemic

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Time: 1852-1860

This originated in India and reached far beyond to Asia, Africa and America soon and was one of those pandemics with highest mortality rates in the 19th century. It was one of the deadliest of all the seven cholera pandemics. The total death toll was around 1 million and in the year 1854, a total of 23,000 people died in Great Britain alone and hence was considered the worst year. A British physician, John Snow, identified the cause of the disease that contaminated water was the means of the transmission of the disease.

5. Flu Pandemic

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Time: 1918

Originally it was called the Asiatic Flu or the Russian Flue because of the place of its origin, this pandemic was an outbreak of the Influenza A virus subtype H2N2 whereas the recent studies have proved it to be the Influenza A virus subtype H3N8. The mortality rate was found to be higher in children younger than 5 years old and in people above 65 years of age. It was also recorded that there was high mortality found among the healthy people who were in age of 25- 30 years which was a unique feature of this pandemic. People were kept in isolation and disinfectants were used besides the medicines.

6. Asian Flu

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Time: 1956-1958

Asian Flu was again a pandemic outbreak of Influenza A of the H2N2 subtype. Historians believe that this flu originated in China in 1956 and lasted until 1958. In its two-year spree, Asian Flu traveled from the Chinese province of Guizhou to Singapore, Hong Kong, and the United States. The World Health Organization recorded the mortality to be approximately 2 million deaths, 69,800 of those in the US alone.

7. Flu Pandemic

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Time: 1968

This flu is also called the Hong Kong Flu which killed nearly 1-4 million people on a global level. This flu was caused by the H2N3 strain of the Influenza A Virus which is considered to be descended from H2N2 virus. This flu symptoms lasted for four to five days. This still remains in circulation today as well as a strain of seasonal flu.

8. HIV/ AIDS Pandemic

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Time: 2005-2012

More than 25 million people in the whole world have died because of this illness. And currently more than 33 million people worldwide are living with this because people do not have access to prevention, treatment, and care, and there is still no cure. This was caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

9. Covid 19 Pandemic

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Time: 2020-

In December 2019, a region called Wuhan in China reported that there was a new virus which appeared on human beings. This has been named Covid-19 which is short name for “Corona virus disease of 2019”. This was initially called an epidemic since it appeared only in China but later on it spread to whole world thus becoming a pandemic. Till now it has cause more than 30,000 deaths and half million people are still infected. The outcome of this disease and pandemic is yet very unpredictable since it’s still in continuation.

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