List of epidemics

This article is a list of epidemics of infectious disease. Widespread and chronic complaints such as heart disease and allergy are not included if they are not thought to be infectious.

List of epidemics
1607-35 Pesttafel Augsburg anagoria
Plague panel with the triumph of death. 1607–35, Deutsches Historisches Museum Berlin
DurationHuman history


Yersinia pestis


Death toll (estimate) Location Date Article Disease Ref.
5–15 million (80% of population) Mexico 1545–1548 Cocoliztli Epidemic of 1545–1548 Possibly Salmonella enterica [12][13][14][15]
2–2.5 million (50% of population) Mexico 1576 Cocoliztli epidemic of 1576 Possibly Salmonella enterica [12][13][14][15]
Seneca nation 1592–1596 measles [16]
Spain 1596–1602 plague [17]
South America 1600–1650 malaria
England 1603 London plague
Egypt 1609 plague
30–90% of population Southern New England, especially the Wampanoag people 1616–1619 Unknown cause. Latest research suggests epidemic(s) of leptospirosis with Weil syndrome. Classic explanations include yellow fever, bubonic plague, influenza, smallpox, chickenpox, typhus, and syndemic infection of hepatitis B and hepatitis D. [18][19]
280,000 Italy 1629–1631 Italian plague of 1629–1631 plague [20]
Wyandot people 1630 in Ontario smallpox
Thirteen Colonies 1633 Plymouth Colony smallpox
Thirteen Colonies 1634 Connecticut River area smallpox
England 1636 Newcastle plague
China 1641–1644 helped end the Ming Dynasty plague [21]
Spain 1647–1652 Great Plague of Seville plague
South America 1648 yellow fever
Italy 1656 Naples plague
Thirteen Colonies 1657 Boston, Massachusetts measles
24,148[22] Netherlands 1663–1664 Amsterdam plague
100,000[23] England 1665–1666 Great Plague of London plague [24]
40,000 France 1668 plague
Spain 1676–1685 plague
76,000 Austria 1679 Great Plague of Vienna plague
Thirteen Colonies 1687 Boston, Massachusetts measles
Thirteen Colonies 1690 New York City yellow fever

18th century

Death toll (estimate) Location Date Article Disease Ref.
Canada, New France 1702–1703 smallpox [25]
Sweden 1710–1712 Great Northern War plague outbreak plague
Thirteen Colonies 1713 Boston, Massachusetts measles
Thirteen Colonies 1713–1715 New England and the Great Lakes measles
Canada, New France 1714–1715 measles [26]
France 1720–1722 Great Plague of Marseille plague [27]
Thirteen Colonies 1721–1722 Boston, Massachusetts smallpox [28]
Thirteen Colonies 1729 Boston, Massachusetts measles
Spain 1730 Cadiz yellow fever
Thirteen Colonies 1732–1733 influenza [29]
Canada, New France 1733 smallpox [30]
> 50,000 Balkans 1738 Great Plague of 1738 plague
Thirteen Colonies 1738 South Carolina smallpox
Thirteen Colonies 1739–1740 Boston, Massachusetts measles
Italy 1743 Messina plague
Thirteen Colonies 1747 CT, NY, PA, SC measles
North America 1755–1756 smallpox
North America 1759 measles
North America, West Indies 1761 influenza
North America, present-day Pittsburgh area. 1763 Native American victims of biological warfare during the Siege of Fort Pitt, part of the French and Indian War. Smallpox
> 50,000 Russia 1770–1772 Russian plague of 1770–1772 plague
Pacific Northwest natives 1770s smallpox [31]
North America 1772 measles
> 2,000,000 Persia 1772 plague [6]
North America 1775 particularly in the Northeast unknown cause
England 1775–1776 influenza [32]
Spain 1778 Cadiz dengue fever
Plains Indians 1780–1782 North American smallpox epidemic smallpox [33]
Pueblo Indians 1788 smallpox
United States 1788 Philadelphia and New York City measles
New South Wales, Australia 1789–1790 amongst the Aborigines smallpox [34]
United States 1793 Vermont influenza and epidemic typhus
United States 1793 Virginia influenza
United States 1793–1798 Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793, resurgences yellow fever [35]

19th century

Death toll (estimate) Location Date Article Disease Ref.
Spain 1800–1803 yellow fever [36]
Ottoman Empire, Egypt 1801 bubonic plague [37]
United States 1803 New York yellow fever
Egypt 1812 plague
Ottoman Empire 1812 Istanbul plague
Malta 1813 plague
Romania 1813 Bucharest plague
Ireland 1816–1819 typhus
> 100,000 Asia, Europe 1816–1826 first cholera pandemic cholera [38]
United States 1820–1823 arising near Schuylkill River fever
Spain 1821 Barcelona yellow fever [39]
New South Wales, Australia 1828 amongst the Aborigines smallpox [40]
Netherlands 1829 Groningen epidemic malaria
South Australia 1829 smallpox [41]
Iran 1829–1835 bubonic plague [42]
> 100,000 Asia, Europe, North America 1829–1851 second cholera pandemic cholera [38]
Egypt 1831 cholera [43][44]
Plains Indians 1831–1834 smallpox
England, France 1832 London, Paris cholera
North America 1832 New York City, Montreal other cities cholera
United States 1833 Columbus, Ohio cholera
United States 1834 New York City cholera
Egypt 1834–1836 bubonic plague [43][44]
United States 1837 Philadelphia typhus
Great Plains 1837–1838 1837–38 smallpox epidemic smallpox [45]
Dalmatia 1840 plague
South Africa 1840 Cape Town smallpox
United States 1841 especially severe in the South yellow fever
> 20,000 Canada 1847–1848 Typhus epidemic of 1847 epidemic typhus [46]
United States 1847 New Orleans yellow fever
worldwide 1847–1848 influenza [47]
Egypt 1848 cholera [43][44]
North America 1848–1849 cholera
United States 1850 yellow fever
North America 1850–1851 influenza
United States 1851 Illinois, the Great Plains, and Missouri cholera
United States 1852 New Orleans yellow fever
1,000,000 Russia 1852–1860 third cholera pandemic cholera [38]
Ottoman Empire 1853 what is now Yemen plague [48]
4,737 Copenhagen, Denmark 1853 Cholera epidemic of Copenhagen 1853 cholera [49]
616 England 1854 Broad Street cholera outbreak cholera [50]
United States 1855 yellow fever
worldwide 1855–1960 Third plague pandemic bubonic plague [51]
Portugal 1857 Lisbon yellow fever
Victoria, Australia 1857 smallpox [52]
Europe, North America, South America 1857–1859 influenza [53]
Middle East 1863–1879 fourth cholera pandemic cholera [38]
Egypt 1865 cholera [43][44]
Russia, Germany 1866–1867 cholera
Australia 1867 Sydney measles
Iraq 1867 plague [54]
Argentina 1852–1871 Buenos Aires yellow fever [55]
Germany 1870–1871 smallpox
40,000 Fiji 1875 Fiji measles [56]
Russian Empire 1877 Baku, now part of Azerbaijan plague [57]
Egypt 1881 cholera [43][44]
> 9,000 India, Germany 1881–1896 fifth cholera pandemic cholera [38]
3,164 Montreal 1885 smallpox timeline
1,000,000 worldwide 1889–1890 1889–1890 flu pandemic influenza [58]

20th century

Spanish Flu Virus

21st century

Ebola virus virion


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Further reading

1629–1631 Italian plague

The Italian Plague of 1629–1631 was a series of outbreaks of bubonic plague which ravaged northern and central Italy. This epidemic, often referred to as the Great Plague of Milan, claimed possibly one million lives, or about 25% of the population. This episode is considered one of the later outbreaks of the centuries-long pandemic of bubonic plague which began with the Black Death.

Bubonic plague

Bubonic plague is one of three types of plague caused by bacterium Yersinia pestis. One to seven days after exposure to the bacteria, flu-like symptoms develop. These symptoms include fever, headaches, and vomiting. Swollen and painful lymph nodes occur in the area closest to where the bacteria entered the skin. Occasionally, the swollen lymph nodes may break open.The three types of plague are the result of the route of infection: bubonic plague, septicemic plague, and pneumonic plague. Bubonic plague is mainly spread by infected fleas from small animals. It may also result from exposure to the body fluids from a dead plague-infected animal. In the bubonic form of plague, the bacteria enter through the skin through a flea bite and travel via the lymphatic vessels to a lymph node, causing it to swell. Diagnosis is made by finding the bacteria in the blood, sputum, or fluid from lymph nodes.Prevention is through public health measures such as not handling dead animals in areas where plague is common. Vaccines have not been found to be very useful for plague prevention. Several antibiotics are effective for treatment, including streptomycin, gentamicin, and doxycycline. Without treatment, plague results in the death of 30% to 90% of those infected. Death, if it occurs, is typically within ten days. With treatment the risk of death is around 10%. Globally there are about 650 documented cases a year, which result in ~120 deaths. In the 21st century, the disease is most common in Africa.The plague is believed to be the cause of the Black Death that swept through Asia, Europe, and Africa in the 14th century and killed an estimated 50 million people. This was about 25% to 60% of the European population. Because the plague killed so many of the working population, wages rose due to the demand for labor. Some historians see this as a turning point in European economic development. The term bubonic is derived from the Greek word βουβών, meaning "groin". The term "buboes" is also used to refer to the swollen lymph nodes.

Ebola virus disease in Nigeria

Ebola virus disease in Nigeria occurred in 2014, a small part of the epidemic of Ebola virus disease (commonly known as "Ebola") beginning in Guinea that represented the first outbreak of the disease in a West African country. Previous outbreaks had been confined to countries in Central Africa.

Ebola virus disease in Spain

In 2014, Ebola virus disease in Spain occurred due to two patients with cases of the disease contracted during the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa; they were medically evacuated. A failure in infection control in the treatment of the second patient led to an isolated infection of Ebola virus disease in a health worker in Spain itself. The health worker survived her Ebola infection, and has since been declared infection-free.

Ebola virus disease in the United Kingdom

Ebola virus disease in the United Kingdom, includes an aid worker returning from treating victims of the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa who contracted the disease.


An epidemic (from Greek ἐπί epi "upon or above" and δῆμος demos "people") is the rapid spread of infectious disease to a large number of people in a given population within a short period of time, usually two weeks or less. For example, in meningococcal infections, an attack rate in excess of 15 cases per 100,000 people for two consecutive weeks is considered an epidemic.Epidemics of infectious disease are generally caused by several factors including a change in the ecology of the host population (e.g. increased stress or increase in the density of a vector species), a genetic change in the pathogen reservoir or the introduction of an emerging pathogen to a host population (by movement of pathogen or host). Generally, an epidemic occurs when host immunity to either an established pathogen or newly emerging novel pathogen is suddenly reduced below that found in the endemic equilibrium and the transmission threshold is exceeded.An epidemic may be restricted to one location; however, if it spreads to other countries or continents and affects a substantial number of people, it may be termed a pandemic. The declaration of an epidemic usually requires a good understanding of a baseline rate of incidence; epidemics for certain diseases, such as influenza, are defined as reaching some defined increase in incidence above this baseline. A few cases of a very rare disease may be classified as an epidemic, while many cases of a common disease (such as the common cold) would not.

Epidemic typhus

Epidemic typhus is a form of typhus so named because the disease often causes epidemics following wars and natural disasters. The causative organism is Rickettsia prowazekii, transmitted by the human body louse (Pediculus humanus corporis).

Humanitarian crisis

A humanitarian crisis (or "humanitarian disaster") is defined as a singular event or a series of events that are threatening in terms of health, safety or well being of a community or large group of people. It may be an internal or external conflict and usually occurs throughout a large land area. Local, national and international responses are necessary in such events.Each humanitarian crisis is caused by different factors and as a result, each different humanitarian crisis requires a unique response targeted towards the specific sectors affected. This can result in either short-term or long-term damage. Humanitarian crises can either be natural disasters, man-made disasters or complex emergencies. In such cases, complex emergencies occur as a result of several factors or events that prevent a large group of people from accessing their fundamental needs, such as food, clean water or safe shelter.

Examples of humanitarian crises include armed conflicts, epidemics, famine, natural disasters and other major emergencies. If such a crisis causes large movements of people it could also become a refugee crisis. For these reasons, humanitarian crises are often interconnected and complex and several national and international agencies play roles in the repercussions of the incidences.


Infection is the invasion of an organism's body tissues by disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host tissues to the infectious agents and the toxins they produce. Infectious disease, also known as transmissible disease or communicable disease, is illness resulting from an infection.

Infections are caused by infectious agents including viruses, viroids, prions, bacteria, nematodes such as parasitic roundworms and pinworms, arthropods such as ticks, mites, fleas, and lice, fungi such as ringworm, and other macroparasites such as tapeworms and other helminths.

Hosts can fight infections using their immune system. Mammalian hosts react to infections with an innate response, often involving inflammation, followed by an adaptive response.Specific medications used to treat infections include antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, antiprotozoals, and antihelminthics. Infectious diseases resulted in 9.2 million deaths in 2013 (about 17% of all deaths). The branch of medicine that focuses on infections is referred to as infectious disease.

List of Ebola outbreaks

This list of Ebola outbreaks records the known occurrences of Ebola hemorrhagic fever, a highly infectious and acutely lethal viral disease that has afflicted humans and animals primarily in equatorial Africa. The pathogens responsible for the disease are the five ebolaviruses recognised by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses: Ebola virus (EBOV), Sudan virus (SUDV), Reston virus (RESTV), Taï Forest virus (TAFV), and Bundibugyo virus (BDBV). Four of the five variants have caused the disease in humans as well as other animals; RESTV has caused symptoms only in non-human primates.Transmission of the ebolaviruses between natural reservoirs and humans is rare, and outbreaks of Ebola virus disease are often traceable to a single case where an individual has handled the carcass of a gorilla, chimpanzee or duiker. The virus then spreads person-to-person, especially within families, hospitals and during some mortuary rituals where contact among individuals becomes more likely.Learning from failed responses, such as during the 2000 outbreak in Uganda, the World Health Organization (WHO) established its Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network, and other public health measures were instituted in areas at high risk. Field laboratories were established to confirm cases, instead of shipping samples to South Africa. Outbreaks are also closely monitored by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Special Pathogens Branch.Nigeria was the first country in western Africa to successfully curtail the virus, and its procedures have served as a model for other countries to follow.

List of foodborne illness outbreaks by death toll

This is a list of foodborne illness outbreaks by death toll, caused by infectious disease, heavy metals, chemical contamination, or from natural toxins, such as those found in poisonous mushrooms.

List of timelines

This is a list of timelines currently on Wikipedia.

Lists of disasters

The following are lists of disasters.

Outline of globalization

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the broad, interdisciplinary subject of globalization:

Globalization (or globalisation) – processes of international integration arising from the interchange of world views, products, ideas, and other aspects of culture. Advances in transportation and telecommunications infrastructure, including the rise of the Internet, are major factors in globalization, generating further interdependence of economic and cultural activities. Globalizing processes affect and are affected by business and work organization, economics, socio-cultural resources, and the natural environment.


Smallpox was an infectious disease caused by one of two virus variants, variola major and variola minor. The last naturally occurring case was diagnosed in October 1977 and the World Health Organization (WHO) certified the global eradication of the disease in 1980. The risk of death following contracting the disease was about 30%, with higher rates among babies. Often those who survived had extensive scarring of their skin and some were left blind.The initial symptoms of the disease included fever and vomiting. This was followed by formation of sores in the mouth and a skin rash. Over a number of days the skin rash turned into characteristic fluid filled bumps with a dent in the center. The bumps then scabbed over and fell off leaving scars. The disease used to spread between people or via contaminated objects. Prevention was by the smallpox vaccine. Once the disease had developed certain antiviral medication may have helped.The origin of smallpox is unknown. The earliest evidence of the disease dates back to the 3rd century BCE in Egyptian mummies. The disease historically occurred in outbreaks. In 18th-century Europe it is estimated 400,000 people per year died from the disease, and one-third of the cases resulted in blindness. These deaths included those of four reigning monarchs and a queen consort. Smallpox is estimated to have killed up to 300 million people in the 20th century and around 500 million people in the last 100 years of its existence. As recently as 1967, 15 million cases occurred a year.Edward Jenner discovered in 1798 that vaccination could prevent smallpox. In 1967, the WHO intensified efforts to eliminate the disease. Smallpox is one of two infectious diseases to have been eradicated, the other being rinderpest in 2011. The term "smallpox" was first used in Britain in the 15th century to distinguish the disease from syphilis, which was then known as the "great pox". Other historical names for the disease include pox, speckled monster, and red plague.

Tropical disease

Tropical diseases are diseases that are prevalent in or unique to tropical and subtropical regions. The diseases are less prevalent in temperate climates, due in part to the occurrence of a cold season, which controls the insect population by forcing hibernation. However, many were present in northern Europe and northern America in the 17th and 18th centuries before modern understanding of disease causation. The initial impetus for tropical medicine was to protect the health of colonialists, notably in India under the British Raj. Insects such as mosquitoes and flies are by far the most common disease carrier, or vector. These insects may carry a parasite, bacterium or virus that is infectious to humans and animals. Most often disease is transmitted by an insect "bite", which causes transmission of the infectious agent through subcutaneous blood exchange. Vaccines are not available for most of the diseases listed here, and many do not have cures.

Human exploration of tropical rainforests, deforestation, rising immigration and increased international air travel and other tourism to tropical regions has led to an increased incidence of such diseases.


Yambuku is a small village in Mongala Province in northern Democratic Republic of the Congo, best known as the center of the 1976 Ebola outbreak. It is 1,098 kilometres (682 mi) northeast of the capital city of Kinshasa. The village has no running water or electricity. There is a hospital, but it has no radio, phone, or ambulances, and communication is done by motorbike messenger.

Zamfara State lead poisoning epidemic

A series of lead poisonings in Zamfara State, Nigeria, led to the deaths of at least 163 people between March and June 2010, including 111 children. Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health figures, state the discovery of 355 cases with 46 percent proving fatal. This is one of the many lead poisoning epidemics with low and middle income countries.

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