While the focus here is usually on the news of day and/or a bit of history to go with it, I am also very interested in the #creation of new #content. Whether it’s epically recalling a former president’s most #YOLO moments or describing complicated and tragic world events with .GIFs from mediocre sci fi movies, I can’t get enough #content. Since epidemic disease is still such a huge danger to our society I thought I’d talk about the deadliest epidemics in human history, but in a way that #creates #content, and aids understanding. So here is a list of the 12 deadliest epidemics in human history illustrated by Youtube videos taken from Pixar movies. Enjoy! But please cover your mouth if you have to cough! #yuck
Anything resembling a fact in this piece comes from here.
Smallpox killed an estimated 300-500 million people before it was declared eradicated in 1980. Remember that barracuda in Finding Nemo that ate Nemo’s mom and all his brothers and sisters? Smallpox was just like that barracuda!
The measles virus, called morbilli or rubeola, has taken an estimated 200 million lives over the past 150 years and counting! Do you think that in the future, when all that’s left on Earth are trash-collecting robots like Wall-E, that measles will still be around somehow? Let’s hope not!
Malaria has killed somewhere between 80 and 250 million people over the past century plus. Did you know that Malaria is caused by an organism called a “protist,” and not a virus or a bacteria? When the other diseases see malaria, I bet it looks to them like those little Toy Story aliens look to the other toys!
4. Black Death
The Black Death killed somewhere between 75 and 200 million people in the 14th century, reducing Europe’s population by as much as 60%. Even those who weren’t infected were forced to live in abject terror of contracting the disease. Imagine if Monsters, Inc. had something as scary as the Black Death working for them!
5. Spanish Flu
The 1918 Flu Pandemic, also known as the “Spanish Flu,” was responsible for between 50 and 100 million deaths worldwide from 1918-1928. Nobody was safe from the Spanish Flu, not even people living in small, isolated communities like Radiator Springs from the movie Cars.
6. Plague of Justinian
“Justinian’s Plague” is one of the earliest known breakouts of bubonic plague; it killed 40 to 100 million people worldwide and is named for the Roman Emperor Justinian, who was in power at the beginning of the outbreak in the Roman Empire. Many historians argue that Justinian’s Plague facilitated the Anglo-Saxon conquest of the island of Britain, since the Britons seem to have been stricken by the plague while the invading Saxons were spared. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what kind of impact the Saxons had on the peoples of the British Isles, like the Scottish clans featured in the film Brave.
Unfortunately tuberculosis is one of those nasty bugs that’s still with us today, having already killed between 40 and 100 million people. TB is bacterial and therefore treated with antibiotics, and one of the major health worries in recent years is the rise of antibiotic-resistant strains of the bug. Since TB can be spread through the air, if these antibiotic-resistant strains ever become common we might all have to live inside sealed pods, just like Stinky Pete the Prospector in Toy Story 2!
AIDS has sadly claimed en estimated 30 million souls since it was first identified in 1981. The good news is that, today, with proper anti-viral meds and healthy lifestyles, many who are infected with HIV can live long, productive lives, just like Carl Fredricksen’s wife did in Up.
9. Third Bubonic Plague Outbreak
After Justinian’s Plague, and then the Black Death, humanity could be forgiven if it thought it was finally done with the bubonic plague, but it was not so. A third outbreak occurred in China in the 1850s and, by the time it was declared over in the 1950s, killed somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 million people. Like it or not, bubonic plague keeps mutating, learning, and coming back to attack us again and again. Say, that sounds just like the Omnidroid from The Incredibles!
10. Antonine Plague
The so-called “Antonine Plague,” named for Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, killed around 5 million in the middle of the second century CE, including Marcus Aurelius’ co-emperor, Lucius Verus. Also known as the Plague of Galen, it is theorized that this plague was either smallpox or measles, but this can’t be known for certain. Whatever it was, you definitely wouldn’t have wanted a sufferer of this plague to cook for you, like those crazy rats did in Ratatouille!
11. Asian Flu
Did you know that H2N2 flu killed anywhere from 1 to 4 million people between 1956 and 1958? I didn’t know anything about this one, just like I don’t know anything about A Bug’s Life, which I’ve never seen! #oops
12. Seasonal Flu
Seasonal flu is a regular killer, taking around 250,000 lives each year since we started tracking global flu deaths in 2009. Whatever we do, it keeps coming back, picking out a few of us, and killing them. Don’t even try to tell me that this doesn’t make you think of Darla from Finding Nemo!