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5 Worst Pandemics in human history that claimed millions of lives

The Spanish Flu during World War I affected almost one-third of population of that time

The word pandemic comes from the Greek word “pandemos”, which means everybody, where pan means everyone and “Demos” means population. The COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic by the WHO (World Health Organization) as it has affected more than 2,00,000 people across the world. In the wake of Coronavirus, we are looking at the 5 worst pandemics in human history that took millions of lives.

1. The Spanish Flu

The Spanish Flu was an influenza flu that spread across the world between 1918 and 1919. According to the CDC, it was caused by an H1N1 virus, with an avian origin. CDC in the report suggested that the deadly virus affected 500 million people, almost one-third of the population. It is said that more than 50 million (5 crores) people died due to this virus. It is said the number of people died due to this virus were more than the combined number of casualties of World War 1 and World War 2.

2. The Great Plague of London

The bubonic plague made its first appearance in pandemic levels in the 14th century, with the Black Death and killed an estimated 75 to 200 million people across Europe and Asia. It came back to London in 1665 for the Great Plague of London killing almost 20 per cent of London’s population in just 18 months, an estimated death of 1,00,000 people.

3. The Asian Flu

According to the CDC, the “Asian Flu” began in 1957 in East Asia. The specific influenza virus was an H2N2 strain, which was first found in Singapore. It then reached Hong Kong in April 1957 and then in the coastal cities of the United States in the summer of 1957. Reports suggest that an estimated 1.1 million people died of the Asian flu around the world.

Read more: COVID 19 outbreak: ‘Deadliest Pandemic in History’, how India is preparing to combat it?

4. Hong Kong Flu

The Hong Kong Flu pandemic is also known as the 1968 Flu Pandemic. It originated in China in July 1968. It is was the third pandemic flu outbreak to occur in the 20th century. The Hong Kong Flu was caused by an influenza A virus (H3N2). About 1 million people lost their life due to the Hong Kong Flu.

5. Swine Flu

This outbreak is the nearest major outbreak to the COVID-19 in terms of time. Swine Flu came into existence in 2009 with a novel influenza virus, H1N1. As per the CDC, the virus was first detected in the US, which then spread across the US and the world.  The CDC estimated death of 5,75,400 people due to Swine Flu across the world. It was found that Swine Flu primarily affected children and middle-aged-children. The pandemic officially ended on August 10, 2010, but the virus continued to circulate as a seasonal flu virus, causing illness, hospitalization and death across the world every year.

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