History of few of Pandemic Virus or Flu that brought world to a Standstill

Aman Akash

, Facts & Trivia

Corona Virus has costed thousands of lives till now and numbers are still increasing. Due to its spread, countries have opted to lockdown completely despite economy loss. The modern age doctors have advanced so much that a lot of things have become easier now which was quite impossible few years ago. Scientists and medical researchers have grown so much that most of the disease has the cure in this world. But despite having all these luxuries, there comes a time when pandemic flu or virus hits us hard to push everyone back. Cholera, smallpox, influenza and bubonic plague are some of the pandemics that swept entire world with its capacity killing millions of people across globe. Influenza pandemics in the past w whole lot of consequence for the human race. Some of the global disease transmission had high mortality in 20-40 year age group which costed too many lives from every continent.

The properties of few of the influenza’s or virus had no vaccine to protect the dying people. At that time quarantine, isolation, limitations on public gatherings, and good personal hygiene was told. A greater number of people died because of flu and virus than any World War combined. So, we reflect on the what were the previous pandemic Virus or Flu that brought world to a standstill and what were its magnitude.

1. Third Plagues (1855) –

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Third Plagues has its origin from China which travelled to India and Hong Kong later on to make the most impact. This plague was far more dangerous than its previous ones. Third plague killed over massive 10-12 million people.  The disease traversed to other countries over the next several decades almost infecting six continents through its calibre. A Hong Kong-based doctor, named Alexandre Yersin identified the cause of the disease as the bacillus Yersinia pestis in 1894. Previous plague pandemics the Plague of Justinian and the Black Death were also devastating, but third plague proved to be the most powerful of all.

Number of death due to Third Plague – More than 12 Millions people

2. Cholera Pandemic (1910) –

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The sixth Cholera pandemic originated mostly in India, killed more than 800,000 people. The cholera became devastating when it spread to Eastern Europe, North Africa, Russia and Middle east. Disruption, illness, and death reported from lot of countries. The sixth cholera had pretty much similar severity to the previous cholera but was more dangerous than before. The disease was disruptive as most of the people who were infected with V. cholera did not develop any symptoms, although the bacteria were still present for 1-10 days after infection potentially infecting other people. The infection takes between 5-6 days to show symptoms for a person after ingesting contaminated food or water. Cholera affects any age group and can kill within hours if the person is untreated.

Number of death due to cholera – 800,000+

3. Spanish Flu (1920) –

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Termed as one of the deadliest flus of all time, Spanish flu took millions of lives around the globe. The people affected with Spanish flu experienced fluid-filled lungs and lung tissue inflammation. The virus started during end of World War I, soldiers used to be in damp and dirty condition which made them ill. When the troop returned home, they brought the Spanish flu with them infecting their families and friends through it.  Soon, it spread in many cities and towns, the virus was deadly and people were finding it difficult to recover from it as there was no vaccine or proper treated dedicated to it because of its unique propositions. Even young and adults were struggling with it for their survival. People working in confined areas like schools, government buildings and barracks were infected more. The initial symptoms were only dry hacking cough, tiredness, less food intake later in the stage excessive sweating or sore head was seen. That was followed by problem in respiratory organs which was the main cause of death in many. Soon, it became pandemic as the growth rate was quite high as considered to other past flus’. Canada, USA, Britain and Spain were largely affected areas due to Spanish flu.

Number of death due to Spanish Flu – 50 Million (Rough figures, actual figure is assumed to be even higher)

4. Asian Flu –

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Another flu which originated in Asia and later spread to the rest of the world. It was first identified in 1957 which was major influenza pandemic in the 19th century. The cause of Asian flu was a virus name  influenza A sub-type H2N2. Started from Singapore, then spread to china and later United States was struggling with it too. Asian flu attacked mainly young blood including elderly and pregnant women. This flu was reason for the death of 1-2 Million people at that particular time when the population wasn’t as much as in 2020. Doctors and scientist worked rapidly on the development of antidote and vaccine since the patient toll was increasing heavily.

Number of deaths due to Asian Flu – More than 1-2 Million (Expected to be much more than that as there was so much lack of technology and equipment’s in 1950’s)


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Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), was first seen in 1980’s and since then, more than 30 million people have lost their lives due to its spread. HIV/AIDS targets the immune system of an individual later resulting in the death of the person. The symptoms usually take time to get visible which are minor fever, enlarged lymph and headache initially. Gradually, the symptoms take rapid changes making it worse for the victim. It is believed to have developed from West Africa by a chimpanzee virus. If we talk about its treatment or vaccine, then there is no such vaccine or treatment which can fully cure the person rather it can only slow the spread of disease in your body. This can give the individual few more time under his court to see the world but eventually people die with it.

Number of deaths due to HIV/AIDS –  More than 30 Millions and Counting

Disease and illnesses have plagued human race since the ages. There have been number of pandemic virus or flu in which the world has struggled to come over it quickly. These pandemics leave a mark to the future generations as well. The recent COVID-19 has really put the world to standstill as a lot of countries have went for complete lock-down. A lot of things are happening regarding corona virus including its vaccine development. Antidote or vaccine have not been officially created and people are still in quarantine making sure this virus does not cause more damage. The world is getting together to fight this deadly virus and everyone is doing their part. Stay safe and keep others as well.