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What are Pandemics?

Pandemic is an epidemic of the infectious disease which spreads from one person to another across a large area, for example multiple continents or across the globe. A widespread endemic disease which is stable in terms of how many people are getting affected is not considered as a pandemic. Flu pandemics can exclude seasonal flu until the flu of a season is a pandemic. There have been numerous pandemics in the history, like tuberculosis and smallpox. H1N1 and HIV are the recent pandemics.

Recent Pandemics:
HIV/AIDS:
The spread of HIV began in the year 1969 to United States of America and worldwide. HIV virus which triggers AIDS is the current pandemic. In southern and eastern Africa, its infection rate is nearly 25%. In the year 2006, HIV affected nearly 29.1% of pregnant women in Africa. Effective education about the safer sexual practices and precautions for blood borne infection helped to reduce the infection rate in many African countries. Again, HIV infection rates are increasing in America and Asian countries. According to UN population researchers, by 2025, AIDS could kill 18 million people in China and 31 million in India. Also, the death toll can reach 90 – 100 million in Africa by the year 2025.

List of Pandemics in History:
Following are some pandemics in the history:

Typhus:
Sometimes, typhus is also referred to as cam fever due to its pattern of flaring up during the times of strife. Also, it is known as ship fever or gaol fever as it widely spread in cramped quarters like ships and jails.

Smallpox:
Smallpox is caused by Variola virus and is highly contagious. In 18th century, it killed 400,000 Europeans every year. In 20th century, smallpox killed nearly 300 – 500 million people. In 1950’s, 50 million cases were reported worldwide every year.

Measles:
Measles was prevalent worldwide and was highly contagious. As per National Immunization Program, nearly 90% people were affected by measles by the age of 15. Every year, 3 – 4 million cases were reported in United States before introducing the vaccine in 1963. It was estimated that in last 150 years, about 200 million people were infected by measles throughout the world. Measles had killed nearly 777,000 people throughout the world in 2000. Nearly 40 million cases were reported in that year.

Tuberculosis:
1/3rd of the population has been affected by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. A new case is being reported every second. Nearly 5 – 10% of the latent infections will gradually progress to active disease. If left untreated, it kills more than 50% of the patients. Every year, 8 million will get infected by tuberculosis and across the globe, 2 million people die. In 19th century, nearly 25% of the adult Europeans died due to this disease. By late 19th century, 70 – 90 % of urban population of North America and Europe were infected with tuberculosis and nearly 40% of working class deaths have been reported in the cities. In 20th century, it is estimated that tuberculosis killed 100 million people.

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