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Mankind's 13 Deadliest Diseases

Adam Starr | AllHealthcare

Remember a few months ago when A/H1N1, i.e. “swine flu,” was going to wipe out all of humanity? Do you recall how every single time you turned on the T.V., a talking head would chatter nervously about how “Hamthrax” and “Snoutbreak” was about to really cook everyone’s bacon?

Fortunately, swine flu has largely oinked-out with nowhere near the destructiveness of its earliest prognosis. As far as outbreaks go, it was small and mostly non-lethal, but swine flu did have the potential to do significant damage, to become something bigger, to evolve into a pandemic. AllHealthcare decided to look into our pandemic past to discover clues to our most recent pig-plague scare.

So, what is a pandemic anyway? Pandemic is a Greek word (pan: all, demos: people) that means, “Widespread or general,” it describes an “epidemic that spreads over a large geographic area infecting a sizeable proportion of the population.” The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes a pandemic after these three conditions:

• Disease is infectious to humans
• Disease emerges that is new to a population
• Disease spreads quickly and sustainably between people

There have been victims of disease since the very beginning of human history; death was a natural and often early part of our ancestral past. If unwelcome, death was at least typical. But occasionally these diseases were so virulent and powerful that they threatened to eliminate entire peoples. These outbreaks were anything but typical. From the Bubonic Plague to HIV, mankind has struggled to understand, control, and eradicate these mass deaths. Where we have failed and they have won, we’ve witnessed a pandemic. AllHealthcare have compiled a list of history’s 13 worst pandemics to keep you healthily educated on our past. Read on, stay hygienic, and whatever you do—avoid these next 13 killers like the plague.

Diagnose the List >>

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    about 6 hours ago


    A Ukrainian journalist detained Tuesday by pro-Russian rebels while working as a freelance producer for CNN has been freed. Anton Skiba called CNN on Saturday to confirm his release. CNN also received visual confirmation that Skiba is free from sources on the ground in Donetsk.On Tuesday evening, armed fighters led by a senior official from the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic were waiting outside the Donbass Palace Hotel, in the rebel-controlled city of Donetsk, as CNN television crew returned from a day's work at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Skiba had worked for one day with the CNN crew when he was detained.Skiba's work as a journalist for CNN also encompassed translating and providing local knowledge. An official with the Donetsk People's Republic initially accused Skiba of "terrorism" and of posting offers, on his Facebook page, of cash rewards for the killing of rebel fighters. The official later dropped the accusation about the Facebook posts and said Skiba was being questioned for having multiple forms of identification with different surnames. On July 11, Alexandr Kalyussky -- the senior official who detained Skiba -- was added to the growing list of rebel officials to face sanctions from the European Union. Skiba had previously also worked as a freelancer for the BBC for two days in the wake of the MH17 crash. A journalist at the Moscow-based weekly magazine Russian Reporter told CNN that Skiba also worked for several months in 2013 as a photographer for the publication.

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    over 1 year ago


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    almost 5 years ago


    Honestly, SARS? Bird Flu? Swine Flu? These are among the 13 deadliest diseases or pandemics in history? The article itself even refutes this. If only 8,098 people contracted SARS in 2003 and of those only 774 died how is this among the deadliest diseases? Bird Flu only 421 with 257 deaths. Swine Flu seems to be a little more widespread but the article states that in the US have a " .000131 chance of already catching it, and a .0000000864 of dying from it at current levels. (I'm assuming those are percentages.)". This article is nothing but sensationalism coated with a veneer of history.

  • Heather_9_08_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    Since the U.S has not come to it's 'flu season' yet, I am not completely convinced we are in the clear. Though a vaccine is in the works, it seems there won't be enough in time so there is currently a priority list of those who will get it. I am not concerned about dying from it, but I do feel that the 40,000 count will increase significantly.

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