List of epidemics
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Top epidemics by death toll[change | change source]
These are pandemics more than 1 million death. Events in boldface are ongoing. For a given epidemic, the average of its estimated death toll range is used for ranking. If the death toll averages of two or more epidemics equal, then the smaller the range, the higher the rank. The most fatal pandemic was the Black Death in Europe duirng the Middle Age.
|1||Black Death||75–200 million||1346–1353||Europe, Asia, and North Africa||At the beginning of the second plague pandemic, about 30%-60% of the European population killed; one of the most deadliest pandemic in history; no sources found.|
|2||Spanish flu||17–100 million||1918–1920||Worldwide||Studies believe the death toll is around 50 million. It is closely related to the First World War. The first wave of the epidemic was recorded in military camps in Kansas.|
|3||Plague of Justinian||15–100 million||541-542||Europe and West Asia||The beginning of the first plague pandemic was named after the Byzantine emperor Justinian I. Approximately 25%-60% of the European population had died.|
|4||HIV/AIDS pandemic||35 million+ (as of 2020)||1981–present||Worldwide||Researchers believe that the virus was transmitted to humans by chimpanzees in West Africa. The earliest cases of AIDS were recorded in Congo as early in 1960s.|
|5||Third plague pandemic||12–15 million||1855–1960||Worldwide||Yunnan originated in the Xianfeng period of the Qing Dynasty and was closely related to the suppression of Huichang in Yunnan by the Qing army. The main deaths occurred in India and China. This pandemic has caused major regional epidemics, such as the Hong Kong plague and the Northeast plague.|
|6||Cocoliztli Epidemic of 1545–1548||5–15 million||1545–1548||Mexico||From 1545 to 1548, the first wave of epidemics died from 5 million to 15 million (about 80% of the Mexican population); the second wave of epidemics from 1576 to 1578 died of 2 million to 2.5 million (about 50% of the Mexican population). May be brought in by the European colonists.|
|7||Antonine Plague||5–10 million||165–180 (possibly up to 190)||Roman Empire||Brought back from the Near East by the Roman Empire. This was named after the Roman emperor who was in power at the time.|
|8||1520 Mexico smallpox epidemic||5–8 million||1519–1520||Mexico||Introduced the European "Navigation Discovery" period, the smallpox pandemic played an important role in Spain's conquest of the Aztec Empire.|
|9||Asian flu||1–4 million||1957–1958||Worldwide||It is believed that the virus originated from the type A avian influenza virus that first broke out in Guizhou, China. American microbiologist, Morris Hillerman, had invented a vaccine that saved hundreds of thousands of lives.|
|Hong Kong flu||1–4 million||1968–1969||Worldwide||The Asian influenza virus transferred its antigenic form and broke out for the first time in Hong Kong. At that time, it was also called to be "Mao flu" or "Mao Zedong flu".|
|10||1918–1922 Russia typhus epidemic||2–3 million||1918–1922||Russia||Mainly occurred during the First World War and the Russian Civil War.|
|12||COVID-19 pandemic||2.5 million+ (as of March 2021)||2019–present||Worldwide||The pandemic began in the Chinese city of Wuhan in the fall of 2019. Experts believe there are significant numbers of unreported cases that vary from region to region. From the excess mortality figures available for individual countries, it can be deduced that the actual deaths are significantly higher.|
|14||Cocoliztli epidemic of 1576||2–2.5 million||1576–1580||Mexico||A epidemics from 1576 to 1578 died of 2 million to 2.5 million (approximately 50% of the Mexican population). This disease could might have brought the from the European people after being colonized from America.|
|15||735–737 Japanese smallpox epidemic||2 million||735–737||Japan||In the 6th century AD, smallpox and the Silk Road trade activities spread to Japan and the Korean Peninsula. Since then, about one-third of the Japanese population has died.|
|1772–1773 Persian Plague||2 million||1772–1773||Persia||The second plague pandemic broke out in Baghdad (now the capital of Iran).|
|16||Naples Plague||1.25 million||1656–1658||Italy||The second plague pandemic was introduced from other European countries, mainly affecting the central and southern regions of Italy (the Kingdom of Naples), causing a devastating by almost wipped out the population of Naples.|
|17||Third cholera pandemic||1 million+||1846–1860||Worldwide||It first broke out in India, and about 1 million people died in the Russian Empire. During this period, the British doctor John Snow used scientific methods to determine the transmission route of cholera and successfully controlled the epidemic. He was hailed as the "father of epidemiology" by the later generations.|
|18||1629–1631 Italian plague||1 million||1629–1631||Italy||In the second plague pandemic, also known as the "Milan plague", about 25% of the Italian population died. In the "Thirty Years' War" (1618-1648) in Europe, the dispatch of troops brought the plague to Italy.|
|1889–1890 flu pandemic||1 million||1889–1890||Worldwide||The first outbreak occurred in the Bukhara region of the Russian Empire. At the same time, there are also reports of outbreaks in Canada, Greenland and other places.|
Worldwide Pandemics[change | change source]
- 1194-1184 BCE: influenza: Trojan War epidemic
- 713 BCE: influenza: Assyrian epidemic
- 430-425 BCE: influenza (?): Plague of Athens
- 165-180: Antonine Plague, perhaps smallpox
- 541: the Plague of Justinian
- 591-592: influenza: Extreme Cough
- 1300-50s: The Black Death in Europe and Asia during the Late Middle Age (Killed 60% of the population) 
- 1501-1587: typhus
- 1729: influenza
- 1732-1733: influenza
- 1775-1776: influenza
- 1781: influenza
- 1816-1826: cholera
- 1829-1851: cholera
- 1830: influenza
- 1847-1848: influenza
- 1852-1860: cholera
- 1855-1950s: bubonic plague: Third Pandemic in China and India
- 1857-1859: influenza
- 1870-1874: smallpox
- 1863-1875: cholera
- 1881-1893: cholera
- 1889-1892: influenza
- 1899-1923: cholera
- 1918-1920: avian flu: Spanish flu: more people were hospitalized in World War I from this epidemic than wounds. Estimates of the dead range from 20 to 40 million worldwide (WHO)
- 1957-1958: influenza: avian flu: Asian flu
- 1961-present: cholera called El Tor
- 1981-present: HIV/AIDS (As of 2018, more than 32 million have died from AIDS) 
- 1968-1969: influenza: avian flu: Hong Kong flu
- 2002-2003: SARS
- 2009-2010: 2009 flu pandemic (swine flu) 
- 2019 to present: COVID-19 pandemic (Ongoing pandemic)
Regional[change | change source]
Asia[change | change source]
Central and South America[change | change source]
- 1493: influenza - Hispaniola
- 1518: smallpox - Hispaniola
- 1520: smallpox - Mexico
- 1527-1530: smallpox - Peru
- 1530-1531: measles - Mexico, Peru
- 1546: typhus - Mexico, Peru
- 1558-1559: influenza - Mexico, Peru
- early 1600s: malaria
- 1648: yellow fever
Europe[change | change source]
- 415 BCE: Athenian army in Sicily
- 393 BCE: Carthaginian siege of Syracuse
- 1347-1351: Black Death
- 1582-1583: plague - San Cristóbal de La Laguna (Tenerife, Spain)
- 1613: diphtheria - "El año de los Garotillos"
- 1782: influenza: Russian Katarrh
Egypt & North Africa[change | change source]
- 212 BCE: Second Punic War epidemic
- 1801: plague
- 1831: cholera
- 1834-1836: plague
- 1848, 1865, 1881: cholera
- 1902: cholera
- 1942-1944: falciparum malaria
- 1946: relapsing fever
- 1947: cholera
North America[change | change source]
- 1657: measles - Boston, Massachusetts
- 1687: measles - Boston, Massachusetts
- 1690: yellow fever - New York, New York
- 1713: measles - Boston, Massachusetts
- 1721-1722: smallpox - Boston, Massachusetts
- 1729: measles - Boston, Massachusetts
- 1738: smallpox - South Carolina
- 1739-1740: measles - Boston, Massachusetts
- 1747: measles - Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina
- 1759: measles - North America
- 1761: influenza - North America and West Indies
- 1772: measles - North America
- 1775: unknown cause - North America, particularly in the northeast
- 1783: Bilious fever - Dover, Delaware
- 1788: measles - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New York
- 1793: influenza and "putrid fever" - Vermont
- 1793: influenza - Virginia
- 1793: yellow fever - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- 1793: unknown - Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
- 1793: unknown - Middletown, Pennsylvania
- 1794: yellow fever - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- 1796-1797: yellow fever - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- 1798: yellow fever - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- 1803: yellow fever - New York
- 1820-1823: fever - United States spreading from the Schuylkill River
- 1831-1832: Asiatic cholera - United States (brought by English immigrants)
- 1832: cholera - New York City and other major cities
- 1833: cholera - Columbus, Ohio
- 1834: cholera - New York City
- 1837: typhus - Philadelphia
- 1841: yellow fever - United States (especially severe in the South)
- 1847: yellow fever New Orleans
- 1848-1849: cholera - North America
- 1849: cholera New York
- 1850: yellow fever - United States
- 1850-1851: influenza - North America
- 1851: cholera Coles County, Illinois, The Great Plains, and Missouri
- 1852: yellow fever - United States (New Orleans-8,000 die in summer)
- 1855: yellow fever - United States
- 1860-1861: smallpox - Pennsylvania
- 1865-1873: smallpox - Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, New Orleans
- 1865-1873: cholera - Baltimore, Maryland, Memphis, Washington, DC
- 1865-1873: recurring epidemics of typhus, typhoid, scarlet fever, and yellow fever
- 1873-1875: influenza - North America and Europe
- 1876: smallpox - Deadwood, South Dakota
- 1878: yellow fever - Memphis, New Orleans
- 1885: typhoid - Plymouth, Pennsylvania
- 1886: yellow fever - Jacksonville, Florida
- 1918-1920: Spanish flu - Fort Riley, Kansas
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