30 Scary Facts Pandemics & Epidemics Everyone Should Know

- Sponsored Links -

1 Eyam


In 1666, the plague-infested English village of Eyam quarantined itself inside a marked circle for 14 months. Neighboring communities left food at the edge of the circle in exchange for disinfected coins. 80% of the people died, but no one crossed the circle.

2. During the 1854 London Cholera outbreak, workers at the local brewery near the outbreak were saved because they only drank beer, which protected them from the infected water.

3. The SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus is so infectious that one man in Hong Kong infected 183 people in 8 apartment buildings with one horrific bowel movement, causing a plume of aerosolized faces to circulate through the ventilation system and outside in the wind.

4. The 1918 flu pandemic is often called the Spanish flu because Spain didn’t fake and minimize the data about the dead like Germany, Britain, France, and the USA.

5. The Black Death was personified by an old woman carrying a rake and a broom. If she used the rake, some would survive in between the teeth of the rake. If she used the broom the whole population of an area would die.

6 John Snow

John Snow

John Snow, who found the cause of cholera during the height of an epidemic, proved his findings by halting an entire outbreak through one action, removing the infected water pump handle.

7. During the 1793 yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia, many black citizens, widely believed to be immune to the disease, volunteered to deal with the dead and dying as white citizens fled the city. The immunity seems to have not actually existed, and blacks died at the same rates as whites.

8. There was a pandemic in the early 20th century that caused life-long stupor and Parkinsonism in survivors, with many sleeping during the day and waking at night. It resulted in the deaths of millions of people worldwide. It was called the “Sleeping Sickness” and the causative agent behind this pandemic has never been found.

9. During the 1952 polio epidemic in Denmark, the mortality rate was over 85% due to a shortage of respirators. Dr. Bjorn Ibsen invented a new kind of ventilator, proved it worked, and then recruited thousands of volunteers to hand-pump them for weeks (they were fully manual). Due to his invention, the mortality rate fell to 26%.

10. During the Black Death, incoming ships were forced to wait for 40 days to prevent possible infection. The Italian word for 40, “quaranta”, is where we get the word “quarantine.”

- Sponsored Links -

11 John Martin Poyer

John Martin Poyer

During the 1918 flu pandemic, the Governor of American Samoa John Martin Poyer quarantined the territory. American Samoa was one of the few places in the world to not suffer any flu deaths.

12. The Black Death resulted in a stronger and longer-living human population. Scientists examined the bones of those who died before and after the plague and determined that people who were born after were stronger and more fit.

13. During the cholera epidemic of the 19th century ‘safety coffins’ were developed because of people’s fear of being buried alive when they lapsed into a deathlike state from cholera.

14. During the 1918 flu pandemic, 62 Boston prisoners volunteered to be injected with infected tissue and sprayed with infectious aerosols with a promise of release if they survived. All of the prisoners lived, but the ward doctor died soon after.

15. During the first outbreak of the Black Death in France in 1348, cities ran out of consecrated ground to bury the dead in so quickly that Pope, Clement VI, had to bless the entire Rhone river to allow corpses to be legally dumped in it.

- Sponsored Links -

16 Hong Kong Flu Virus

Hong Kong Flu Virus

The 1968 Pandemic caused by the H3N2 virus and commonly referred to as the Hong Kong Flu Virus, was an extremely contagious virus with a low fatality rate that originated in China and was widespread in the United States about five months later. It struck in two waves, with the second being more deadly.

17. The Third Plague Pandemic was an outbreak of bubonic plague that killed 15 million people between 1855-1960. In Hong Kong, where the bacterium responsible was identified as yersinia pestis, the plague recurred every year for 30 years.

18. The Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919 is known as the most devastating epidemic in recorded world history, in that it killed more people in 1 year than during the 4 years of the Black Plague. It was most deadly for people aged 20-40 and many died within hours of contracting the virus.

19. The 1968 Hong Kong Flu left more than one million dead worldwide, and doctors recommended those ill to stay at home and take aspirin, tea, lemon drinks, whiskey or brandy according to taste.

20. During the terrifying cholera epidemic of 1835- 1836, the island of Sardinia was the only Italian region to escape cholera, thanks to surveillance by armed men who had orders to prevent, by force, any ship that attempted to disembark persons or cargo on the coast.

15 Most Controversial & Costly Blunders in History

21 Diphtheria Epidemic

Diphtheria Epidemic

The 1925 diphtheria epidemic in Nome, Alaska probably affected at least 100 natives because the natives would bury their children without reporting the deaths.

22. During the first SARS epidemic of 2002, to help revive its economy Toronto hosted a concert called SARSstock which was attended by 500,000 people and headlined by The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Justin Timberlake, Rush, and others. It is the largest outdoor ticketed event in Canadian history.

23. During the 1813-1814 Malta plague epidemic, concealing infection and moving between districts were made capital offenses.

24. During the Revolutionary war, the smallpox epidemic threatened the troops of George Washington very badly but he forbade inoculating troops fearing that doing so would make too many sick and leave the army without sufficient strength. Washington himself had been exposed when young making him immune.

25. The origin of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa was traced to a 2-year-old child who died on December 6, 2013, in the village of Méliandou in southern Guinea. The child may have contracted Ebola from eating fruit contaminated by a fruit bat.

- Sponsored Links -


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here