Diseases Diseases

All The History Of Diseases

Bubonic Plague

The history of diseases can be traced back in 540 BC when bubonic plague engulfed the Roman Empire for more than 50 years. In 1347, the bubonic plague spread in Europe which killed over 100 million during the next 400 years. The disease was believed to have originated in China, spread from Italy and then throughout other European countries.

Bubonic plague mainly affects rodents and it is spread through the rodent’s fleas, infected fleas then transmit the disease to people. Once people are infected, they rapidly infect other people. The plague causes painful swelling of the lymph glands known as buboes. The history of diseases also causes red spots on the skin that may turn black just after a few days.

Historical Views of Diseases and Epidemics Between 1500s and 1700s

In 1557, a massive influenza hit Europe. Influenza is a viral infection that affects the nose, bronchi, throat and sometimes the lungs. The disease killed a number of people and it almost wiped out several Spanish cities.

Typhoid fever claimed at least two million lives in South America in 1567. The disease was said to have been contracted by Indians in South America from the Europeans.

In 1578, Pertussis also known as whooping cough was epidemic in Paris. It is a very contagious bacterial disease that involves the respiratory tract and is caused by Bordetella pertussis. The disease claimed millions of lives in Paris; including women and children of different ages.

Known as the last in a long series of plague epidemics that first began in London in 1449 is called the great plague of London in 1665. The great plague killed between 80,000 and 100,000 of London’s population. The great plague died out during the great fire in 1666. Parts of London were rebuilt with better sewage system to improve sanitation.

In 1721, more than 5,000 Bostonians had smallpox and over 800 died of it. This was the year that smallpox had been an epidemic in Boston. The disease caused more than three-quarters of death in Boston that year alone.

Yellow fever hit Philadelphia in 1793. Yellow fever is a viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted by the bite of a female mosquito.

Other Specific Disease Episodes in the years 1800 to 1900

By the late 19th century 90% of the urban populations in Europe as well as in North America were infected with tuberculosis and about 80% of the infected died of it. Tuberculosis then was thought to be hereditary. By the end of the 19th century the history of diseases was considered to be a sign of poverty. The identification of tuberculosis in 1882 helped convince the members of medical communities that the history of diseases was contagious. To prevent the spread of tuberculosis public health campaigns to fight the disease were introduced in Europe and North America.

Another historical view of disease in the 19th century was the cholera epidemics. The history of diseases first appeared in Europe and North America in 1831-1832. It was believed to have come from India. The disease spread around the world claiming thousands of lives. Cholera caused profuse and violent stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea, with dehydration so rapid that victims die in a matter of hours.

The Founding of World Health Organization

Because of the recorded epidemics that struck the world, the World Health Organization was founded in 1948. It is the league of all nations to fight different diseases. Apart from coordinating international efforts to control outbreaks of infectious diseases, like tuberculosis, influenza, malaria, SARS, the organization makes and sponsors programs to prevent and treat these diseases.

Up until these days, world health organization has been working and monitoring in finding ways to combat these infectious diseases.

By Emelie Go, published at 04/05/2012
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