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8 most mass and killing epidemics in the history

History of mankind contains several tens of epidemics whose emergence was compared by eyewitnesses and historians to doomsday. The most terrible of them claimed the lives of millions of people, having made even the whole people to the person of the earth. What they − the diseases striking terror? Whether it managed to the person to find treatment, or he is still powerless before forces of nature?

1. Bubonic plague

The awful disease which mowed clean in the 14th century of 75 million people or the third part of Europe. As carriers of an infection serve the fleas who bit the infected rat. Symptoms of a disease are so terrible − a black face, the inflated lymph nodes, the smell of the decaying flesh proceeding from the patient − that bubonic plague received the speaking name "black death". Doctors during that time treated patients with threat of own life − the only protection against the infection extending in the airborne way the suit from dense black fabric with the mask reminding the bird's head served: in an opening in "beak" the vinegar and aromatic oils disinfecting air were filled in. Cauterization of an open wound was considered as the heated poker as the most successful method of treatment of bubonic plague (the bacterium perished at 100 ̊ C), but, as a rule, all tricks of doctors were vain. Drug treatment of a disease appeared only in the 19th century, together with discovery of antibacterial drugs.

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2. Smallpox

The dangerous and very infectious disease which became in the 20th century the reason of depopulation of North and South America, having taken away about half a billion lives. The first signs of smallpox defeats (papules and pustules at black smallpox filled with blood) in the form of marks were found for 4 thousand years B.C. − in a tomb of the Egyptian mummies. Distinctive feature of the person of 16-18 centuries was the characteristic "signs of smallpox has no". Those years epidemic claimed 1,5 million lives from 12 million diseased, and survived in memory of the postponed disease carried deep hems on skin. The first vaccine against smallpox was invented by the rural doctor Edward Jenner, having infected the boy with weaker virus of a vaccinia, and 4 months later − black smallpox. The child remained is healthy that served as the beginning of mass vaccination and finally led to a clear victory over a disease.


3. Cholera

Scourge of the dirty cities with insanitary conditions of life, cholera claimed about 15 million lives in the 19th century. The activator, a cholera vibrio, causes the acute infectious inflammation of intestines bringing into force of plentiful diarrhea to deep dehydration of an organism. The main source of infection was the drinking water contaminated by fecal masses, and as the promoting conditions served density of the population in big cities and non-compliance with elementary rules of hygiene by them. It is known that cholera served as a cause of death of outstanding Russian composers V. A. Glinka and P. I. Tchaikovsky.


4. Malaria

The fatal disease known since the time of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun whose carrier is the sort mosquito the Anofeles living in tropical and subtropical regions of the planet. Annually with malaria about half a million people get sick worldwide, but, unfortunately, any drug is not capable to provide absolute recovery bitten though development of a vaccine and search of new medicines is actively conducted.


5. Spanish flu

Spanish flu or "Spaniard" − the most mass pandemic of flu notorious for almost absolute ratio of the diseased and dead. In 1918 the fatal virus infected nearly 40% of the population of Spain then the disease immediately extended on all planet. It is known that in 25 weeks of the existence flu which characteristic symptom was intra pulmonary bleeding as a result of which the patient perished, choking with the blood, exterminated more than 25 million people. The disease raged only 18 months, however the number of the victims of "Spaniard" during this time many times exceeded number of the killed as a result of the First and Second World wars, combined. On what was represented by the Spaniards virus and whether it was really an influenza virus, scientists argue still.

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6. Measles

This acute viral disease which characteristic course are temperature increase, rash, cough and hydrophobia remains the main reason of child mortality today. According to WHO data, the death toll from measles of children under five years in 2011 made 158 thousand people. Drugs for specific treatment of a disease do not exist yet, however the vaccine created in 1966 allows to reduce incidence of measles to the minimum level. According to doctors, mass vaccination of children by 2020 will allow to liquidate completely a disease in Russia.


7. Tuberculosis (tuberculosis)

The disease is caused by Koch's sticks which, according to some information, infected about a third of all population of the globe and, according to doctors, each 1-2 seconds there is a new case of infection. Tuberculosis is considered a disease of urban poor, a social disease as the illness affects preferential people from lower-income strata, living in adverse conditions for life though cases of infection of quite successful people are also frequent. Till the 20th century in which tuberculosis claimed the lives more than 100 million people the disease was considered incurable, however the modern medicine learned to eradicate successfully an illness at early stages of development. As the main preventive measure of a disease serves the vaccination of BTsZh entered in the absence of contraindications into the first week of life of babies.



This rather young, slow disease of immune system causing critical decrease in immunity of the patient became the real scourge of the present. From the moment of the beginning of epidemic the AIDS virus claimed the lives more than 20 million people. It is characteristic that the people infected with HIV infection perish not from virus per se, and from the diseases which arose against the background of critical decrease in protective forces of an organism (tuberculosis, pneumonia, a toxoplasmosis, etc.). AIDS medicine is not invented − probability of infection yet it is only possible to lower by means of preventive measures. As the virus is transmitted in the contact way with body liquids, it is recommended to practice the protected sexual intercourses, not to take someone else's razors, machines, manicure accessories, and also to use one-time syringes when carrying out injections.


Whether you know that:

The most rare disease – a disease the Kura. Only representatives of the tribe Faure in New Guinea are ill it. The patient dies of laughter. It is considered that eating of a human brain is an origin of a disease.