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6 epidemics that changed history



Everyone knows Black Death and Spanish Flu from the devastating effects they have had on the world. But there were other epidemics, pandemics and outbreaks that changed history – some to the bad and some surprisingly for the better.

. 1 Malaria outbreak in the Vatican // 1623

Location: Rome
Fatalities: Eight cardinals and 30 other church representatives
How history has changed: The death of about 38 is relatively unknown People in the 17th century may have saved the lives of millions of people. In 1623, Catholic cardinals from all over Christendom gathered to elect a new pope ̵

1; and soon succumbed to a malaria outbreak. Even the newly elected Pope Urban VIII fell ill and needed two months to recover. According to legend, Urban VIII issued a decree to find a cure for the disease.

News of the deaths spread throughout South America, where Jesuit missionaries observed indigenous peoples who used the bark of the Cinchona tree of the Andes to treat both tremors and fever Symptoms of Malaria [PDF]. The shipments of the "Peruvian bark" then arrived in Rome, where doctors successfully used them to treat malaria. In 1820, French chemists isolated quinine, its active antiprotozoal compound.

. 2 New England Smallpox Epidemic // 1721

Location: Boston
Fatalities: 850 people
How the story changed: Early 18th century influential Puritan minister Cotton Mather of Boston Reading A paper on the novel vaccine against smallpox. He answered the author with his own thoughts. Mather had asked his African slaves Onesimus if he had ever had the disease, and he said, Onesimus answered, "Both yes and no; and then he told me that he underwent an operation that had given him some smallpox and would take him forever. "

Five years later, Pox met Boston. Mather pressed for a vaccination campaign, but many doctors and citizens in the city disapproved of it for religious reasons, while others argued that it was unethical to treat healthy people with an unknown procedure. One critic even threw a bomb into Mather's window saying, "Cotton Mather, you dog, damn it! I will vaccinate you with it; with a smallpox for you. "(The bomb could not explode.) Only one doctor, Zabdiel Boylston, was standing next to Mather. Boylston inoculated his own son and hundreds of others. At the end of the outbreak, in the first hard-data clinical study, he reported that only 2 percent of vaccinated patients died compared to nearly 15 percent of those who did not. According to the journal BMJ Quality & Safety the results would direct Edward Jenner's vaccine experiments several decades later. For Onesimus he acquired his freedom in 1716, depending on his obligation to perform Mather on demand.

. 3 Saint-Domingue Yellow Fever Epidemic // 1802

Location: Haiti
to the present day
Fatalities: 29,000 to 55,000 people
How the story changed: The born disease had a profound impact on the relationship between the Old and the New World. In 1791, slaves and other marginalized groups in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti) rose against the oppressive French government and launched the Haitian Revolution. Eleven years later, Napoleon Bonaparte sent his brother-in-law Charles Leclerc and 60,000 soldiers to restore order. However, the French troops died in thousands of yellow fever, with only a few died in combat – which was probably intended.

The Haitian general Toussaint Louverture, one of the revolutionary leaders, wrote to his lieutenant Jean-Jacques Dessalines "Remember that while we wait for the rainy season, which will free us from our enemies, we only use destruction and fire as weapons He knew that the seasonal yellow fever outbreaks would weaken the French army. In fact, yellow fever would kill most French soldiers, including Leclerc, and help ensure Haiti's independence from France.

However, some historians suggest that Haiti is just a rallying point for the vast group of French troops. The island could have served as the starting point for an expedition to reassert control of Louisiana, which had been handed over to Spain in 1762 and had been recovered by France between 1800 and 1802. Probably as a result of the French defeat in Haiti Napoleon announced: "I renounce Louisiana. Not only will I relinquish New Orleans, but the entire colony without reserve. "The purchase of Louisiana by the United States in 1803 would double the size of the young nation.

. 4 Third Cholera Pandemic // Mid-19th Century

Location: Worldwide
Fatalities: Hundreds of Thousands to More Than a Million
How History Changed: The Third Cholera Epidemic (which lasted from 1846 to 1863 or from 1839 to 1856 (depending on the source) is best remembered for two historic events from 1854.

In the London district of Soho, the cholera outbreak led to the deaths of 616 people At the time, most thought-cholera was transmitted through bad air (known as the miasma theory) .A local anesthetist named John Snow had the then-radical idea that cholera was spread by a microscopic organism and began to position the water pumps of the neighborhood and to map the victims of the eruption, and noted that they were centered around a pump on the corner of Broad and Cambridge (now Broadwick and Lexington Street) CONFIDENT remove the handle of the pump to the council, and decreased the number of deaths. Snow's investigation became a defining moment in areas ranging from epidemiology to data visualization to urban planning. But Snow was never able to figure out what caused the outbreak and was probably not aware of anyone.

In the same year that cholera arrived in Florence, the anatomist Filippo Pacini performed autopsies on victims and strangely noticed microscopic particles he called vibrations [PDF]. He published his results, but they were ignored. In the 1880s, the German microbiologist Robert Koch again discovered that the vibrations that are present in the gut of cholera victims, but not healthy people, were actually bacteria that caused the disease. His research on bacteria survived the intense resistance [PDF] and changed the way we diagnose and treat diseases. But Pacini was not ignored – in 1966, the International Committee for Nomenclature officially recognized Pacini's earlier discovery [PDF].

. 4 Fiji-Measles Eruption // 1875

Location: Fiji
Fatalities: 40,000 people
How History Has Changed It: In the tourist brochures, the South Pacific nation of Fiji seems like a prudent paradise – but the islands were churned up by a series of coup d'etat, some of which started with a virulent virus. In January 1875, the Royal Navy Sloop HMS Dido brought the powerful Fijian chief Cakobau and his family home from a state visit to Australia. But Cakobau fell ill with measles and infected his sons despite his recovery. The authorities were unable to quarantine the ship safely. When Dido arrived in Fiji, his passengers broke away and met chiefs from the surrounding islands, who returned home and spread the infection with astonishing rapidity. The population of Fiji before the outbreak was about 150,000; After graduating in June 1875, approximately 40,000 people had died.

Many Fijians considered the epidemic to be a deliberate act by the British government – Cakobau had agreed in 1874 to make Fiji a British Crown Colony – and staged an armed rebellion. Possibly as a result of the population decline, British colonists were able to confiscate Fijian property and bring in Indian contract agents, who grew into a substantial minority of the population. Soon after Britain's independence in 1970, "the clashes between the political parties that make up the majority of Fiji's ethnic and ethnic minorities, especially Indo-Fijian, have led to a military coup," said the US State Department. "This was the beginning of what many now call the 'coup cycle'."

. 5 African Rinderpest Outbreak // 1890s

Location: East Africa
Fatalities: Millions of cattle and an unknown number of people
How has history changed: Not all diseases that Affecting Humanity are Human Diseases: The rinderpest of livestock led to war, colonialism and a lasting change in life in much of Africa.

In cattle and other ungulates, rinderpest can be fatal in the 90 percent range. The disease never traveled further south than Egypt, until sometime around 1887, when cattle infected with the most popular theory were sent to today's Eritrea in the Italian colony. The cattle died by the thousands and the price for the survivors rose. Some also exchanged infected skins for food with the long-range caravans that run through the area, potentially exposing the population to smallpox.

The eruption is described as "the most catastrophic natural disaster that has ever hit Africa" ​​[PDF]. Rinderpest (and smallpox) almost destroyed the Maasai way of life, and the loss of livestock disrupted traditional agricultural means and economic problems forced African landowners to sell their land. These forces destabilized eastern Africa and allowed the takeover of European colonialism. The social changes contributed to the Boer War and the Matabele War at the turn of the 20th century, while the decimation of much of the oxen that attract the continent stimulated the speed of railway construction.

Finally, quarantines contained the worst rinderpest outbreaks In the 1980s, Nigeria lost $ 2 billion to the disease. After decades of work, Rinderpest was officially eradicated in 2011.

. 6 US Salmonella Outbreak // 1994

Location: USA
Fatalities: Zero dead, 224,000 infected
How history has changed: Only 25 years The largest outbreak of food-borne diseases in history has changed the way that food manufacturers handled food and potentially saved the lives of millions of people. In 1994, a tank truck transported unpasteurized liquid egg to a manufacturing facility and then returned to its headquarters in Minnesota. Before receiving his next batch of ice cream mix for the food company Schwan, the tank should have been completely disinfected. It was not The truck and its sweet cargo were contaminated with salmonella (19459010), which eventually spread throughout the ice cream production system. An estimated 224,000 consumers in 35 states were infected.

Perhaps scared of experiencing the same setback hit by the burger chain Jack received in the box after their reaction to the deadly . Outbreak of coli In 1993, Schwan's reaction was so rapid and decisive that it became a textbook example of positive crisis management [PDF]. Swan remembered the ice cream before it was certain that the product was faulty, shut down the factory, advertised to advise people not to eat ice cream, set up and even offered a 24-hour consumer hotline to pay for medical diagnostic examinations. "In the course of the outbreak, Schwan has broken new ground for a responsible company with a national recall," stated Food Safety News 2009.


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