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Top 10 Deadliest Pandemics and Epidemics in History Ever

Top 10 worst epidemics in history that almost wiped out the population

Is the Covid-19 the first deadliest pandemic that happens, What do you think? NO! Not at all. Epidemics or Pandemics are not new to us.

In today’s world due to the advancement of medical treatment, sanitization process, and previous data, we can almost face any worst disease. But in the past, there was a time when no medical treatment existed even for a simple fever.

At that time some of the deadliest pandemics and epidemics happened that almost destroyed half of the world’s population.

Here, in this article, we have discussed the top 10 worst epidemics/pandemic in history based on the death toll, the population of that time, and the fatality of the disease.

Here are the Top 10 worst epidemics and pandemics in history

1. Black Death

Black Death, Disease, Pandemic;
(Image source: nbcnews)

Black Death was the most fatal pandemic of human history ever. It was a bubonic pandemic that took an estimated 200,000,000 human lives.

 This dangerous disease started in 1347 and finished in 1351 and hugely infected people in Eurasia, North Africa. This fatal illness is caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis.

In this disease, a black spot could be located to the infected people that’s why it is named as the black death. The Quarantine word also originated from this global epidemic as it was the first pandemic, controlled by home Quarantine.

 Fleas, present in the rats helped to spread this disease vastly from one country to another by ships.

2. Spanish flu

Spanish flu, virus, disease, pandamic, epidemic
(Image source: healthline)

This Spanish flu was one of the fatal pandemics in human history. It just started after world war-1. Staying from 1918 to 1920, it infected more than 500 million people, almost one-third of the world population at that time.

This pandemic is caused by influenza H1N1 influenza A virus. Though Spanish flu sounds like it originated in Spain but it’s not, the actual origin is still undiscovered.

This virus directly attacked the respiratory system of the infected people and the mortality rate was so high that it killed almost 17-100 million people.

3. Plague of Justinian

Plague of Justinian, Epidemic, Disease, Virus
(Image source: historycollection)

The Plague of Justinian which was started in 541 AD, was believed to be the first pandemic of the world which was recorded. This Plague almost destroyed Eastern Roman Empire. At that time more than 5000 people lost their lives daily. Emperor Justinian was also infected by the disease. 

Recently researchers connected this Plague with Black Death and they came to the conclusion that both are caused by the same bacteria Yersinia pestis and the Black Death was the second wave of the Plague of Justinian. 

Though the total death toll was not recorded but some historians believed that half of the world’s population wiped out at that time due to this fatal disease.

4. HIV/AIDS pandemic

HIV-AIDS pandemic, Disease, Virus
(Image source: beckman)

We all have heard about this disease but rarely we could imagine it as a pandemic or epidemic. But the fact is that it is one of the top 10 worst epidemics in history which killed more than 35 million people till now. 

It is believed that HIV originated in the democratic republic of the congo back in 1920 from chimpanzee to human. Till now we don’t have any cure for this virus. An estimated 31.6 million to 44.5 million people were living with HIV globally in 2019.

5. Third plague pandemic

Third plague pandemic, Virus, Diseases
(Image source: wikipedia)

It’s like back to back two pandemic was not enough that again the third plague of pandemic came after Plague of Justinian and Black Death. But this time this Plague stayed for a long time.

Almost 12-15 million people died in India and China (10 million people in India alone) which makes it one of the deadliest pandemics of recent time. To prevent this disease people used to use masks and maintained distance (quite similar to Covid-19).

The origin was Yunnan, China in 1855 and it was active until 1945.

6. Cocoliztli Epidemic of 1545–1548

Cocoliztli Epidemic of Mexico, Disease, Virus, Pandemic
(Image source: nypost)

This epidemic is also known as the worst epidemic in the history of Mexico as 5-15 million people died at that time in this epidemic.

Still today, we don’t have accurate data about the cause of this epidemic. But in recent research, it came to know that they were infected by subspecies of Salmonella which causes enteric fever.

The symptoms are pretty much similar to Ebola, like high fever, running blood from the nose and mouth, and abdominal (stomach) pain.

7. Antonine Plague

Antonine Plague, Pandamic, Virus
(Image source: allthatsinteresting)

The Antonine Plague which is also known as the Plague of Galen occurred in the very past of 165 AD in the Roman Emperor. 

This plague is known as The Antonine plague as after the name of roman emperors, Antonine. It was bought by the soldiers who were returning from the East region

This pandemic spread rapidly throughout the roman empire and it took 2000 lives every day. This plague stayed for two decades. The emperors of Rome, Lucius Verus, and Marcus Aurelius were also dead by this Plague.

8. 1918–1922 Russia typhus epidemic

1918–1922, Russia typhus epidemic, Disease
(Image source: wikipedia)

Following the world war, this disease had been responsible for 2-3 million deaths in Russia alone. It is spread by lice and the very poor sanitization with gathering helps this disease to transmit fast.

The fatality of typhus is also high (40% in untreated cases). Some of the symptoms are headache, fever, and vomiting.

9. COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19, pandemic, virus, disease
(Image source: aliazeera)

By killing more than 2.65 million people worldwide, it becomes the most recent deadly pandemic of the world. This contagious disease is caused by SARS-CoV-2. Like most of the cases this time also, it originated in China.

The first case was located in Wuhan, China in December 2019. After that, it spread rapidly throughout the world. Till now it’s infecting people. The maximum number of cases are coming from the USA, Brazil, and India.

In the USA alone more than 30,138,775 cases have been found till now. People are avoiding this disease using masks, sanitization processes, and maintaining distance.

10. 1846–1860 cholera pandemic

1846–1860, cholera pandemic, Disease
(Image source: daily.jstor)

In the past, several cholera pandemics occurred and among them, the third cholera pandemic was very much deadly. This cholera pandemic started in India and crossing the border, It devastated other countries of Asia, Africa, and North America. 

It killed more than one million people in Russia. 23,000 people were dead due to this pandemic in Great Britain alone.

In 1854, British physician John Snow observed that contaminated water was the main transmission of this disease. After his discovery, the officials took steps to clean the water and within some time it started to decline.


A small virus or bacteria can be the reason for the millions of people’s death that history taught us. Though today we have almost all the facilities and resources to cure any disease but still now we don’t have any vaccine for HIV.

 This shows us we should always learn from the past and shouldn’t make any mistakes that could be harmful to the human population and nature.

In this article, we saw that the disease, plague alone killed more than half of the world’s population combined (that includes first, second, and third plague pandemic) in different times which makes it the worst disease in human history ever. 

What do you think is covid-19 could be as deadly as the black death if we wouldn’t have any advanced medical treatment and knowledge like before?

"Follow Your Passion" I am a professional blogger, my aim is to help millions of readers to get the right information at the right time.

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