Timeline

  • 1510

    Influenza / Asia

    The 1510 flu pandemic was the first to be chronicled across continents. It originated in Asia before spreading through North Africa and Europe.

  • 1545

    Smallpox Epidemic / India

    Thought to have been introduced by the Portugese, estimated 8000 children died

    1545

  • 1557-1559

    Influenza Pandemic / India

    In 1557 a pandemic strain of influenza emerged in Asia recorded in Goa around September of that year.  It spread west along established trade and pilgrimage routes to Africa, Europe, and eventually the Americas.

  • 1563 -1564

    Bubonic Plague / UK

    The 1563 London plague was the worst episode of plague during the sixteenth century. At least 20,136 people in London and surrounding parishes were thought to have  died during this outbreak

    1563 -1564

  • 1592-1593

    Bubonic Plague / Malta

    This was a major outbreak of the plague on the island of Malta.  It occurred in three waves from  June 1592 and September 1593, and it resulted in approximately 3000 deaths (around  11% of the Maltese population). The disease was imported to Malta by Tuscan galleys that had captured vessels from Alexandria.

  • 1592-1593

    Bubonic Plague / UK

    This was London’s last  major plague outbreak of the plague in the 16th century. At least 15,000 people died within the City of London and another 4,900 died of plague in the surrounding parishes.

    1592-1593

  • 1603

    Bubonic Plague / UK

    A estimated 40,000 people died

  • 1637

    Bubonic Plague / UK

    Another bout of the bubonic plague in which over 10,000 people died.  The was the last major outbreak of Bubonic plague to occur in England

    1637

  • 1665-1666

    Bubonic Plague / UK

    Known as the Great Plague of London in which an estimated 100,000 people (a quarter of the population of London)  died.

  • 1675-1676

    Bubonic Plague / Malta

    The 1675–1676 Malta plague epidemic was a major outbreak of the plague on the island and it resulted in approximately 11,300 deaths, making it the deadliest epidemic in Maltese history.

    1675-1676

  • 1687

    Influenza / South Africa

    The virus that caused outbreak was not known and neither was the death toll

  • 1761

    Influenza / West Indies

    Known as the North America and West Indies influenza epidemic, the number of total deaths was unknown

    1761

  • 1775-1776

    Influenza / England

    Very little known, no estimate of death toll.

  • 1789-1790

    Smallpox / Australia

    Exact death toll unknown but thought to have  wiped out 50-70% of the native population

    1789-1790

  • 1813-1814

    Bubonic Plague / Malta

    This was the last major outbreak of plague on the islands of Malta. It resulted in approximately 4500 deaths, which was about 5% of the islands’ population.

  • 1817

    Typhus / Ireland

    Known the 1817 Ireland Typhus Epidemic, it took 65,000 lives

    1817

  • 1817-1824

    Cholera / India

    The first Cholera pandemic began in Bengal and by 1820 had spread across India killing hundreds of thousands of Indians and ten thousand British troops.  This outbreak extended as far as China, Indonesia (where more than 100,000 people succumbed on the island of Java  alone) and the Caspian Sea in Europe, before receding

  • 1826-1837

    Cholera / India

    Known as the second cholera pandemic and the Asiatic cholera pandemic. It spread from India to western Asia to Europe, Britain and the Americas as well as east to China and Japan. Cholera caused more death (100,000 pls), more quickly, than any other epidemic disease in the 19th century and by this time was believed to be exclusively a human disease, spread through many means of travel and transmitted through warm fecal-contaminated river waters and contaminated foods

    1826-1837

  • 1828-1829

    Smallpox / Australia

    Thought to have killed around 19,000 people

  • 1840

    Smallpox / South Africa

    Known as the South Africa Smallpox Epidemic , death toll unknown

    1840

  • 1847-1848

    Typhus / Canada

    The North America Typhus Epidemic of 1847 was caused by the  massive Irish emigration during the Great Famine, aboard crowded and disease-ridden Coffin ships

  • 1847-1848

    Influenza / Worldwide

    1847–1848 Influenza epidemic as it was known spread worldwide

    1847-1848

  • 1848-1849

    Cholera / UK

    Called the Broad Street Cholera Outbreak, it claimed the lives of 616 people.  It  occurred  during the 1846–1860 cholera pandemic happening worldwide. It is best known for the physician John Snow’s study of its causes and his hypothesis that germ-contaminated water was the source of cholera, rather than particles in the air.  This discovery came to influence public health and the construction of improved sanitation facilities beginning in the mid-19th century.

  • 1855

    Yellow Fever / UK

    Known as the Norfolk Yellow Fever Epidemic it claimed the lives of 3000 people in Norfolk and Portsmouth.

    1855

  • 1855-1960

    Bubonic Plague / Worldwide

    The third plague pandemic as it became known was a major bubonic plague pandemic that began in China in 1855 and spread to all inhabited continents. It  led to more than 12 million deaths in India and China, with about 10 million killed in India alone.  According to the World Health Organization, the pandemic was considered active until 1960, when worldwide casualties dropped to 200 per year.   Deaths  have continued at a lower level every year since.

  • 1857

    Smallpox / Australia

    Called the Victoria smallpox epidemic, the death toll was unknown

    1857

  • 1857-1859

    Influenza / Europe and North and South America

    Called the Europe and the Americas influenza epidemic, not much is known about it not even an estimated death toll.

  • 1862-1863

    Smallpox / British Columbia and Canada

    British Columbia Smallpox epidemic claimed the lives of at least 32,000 people.

    1862-1863

  • 1867

    Measles / Australia

    The Sydney measles epidemic, death toll was thought to be around 748

  • 1870-1875

    Smallpox / Europe

    Europe smallpox epidemic, death toll 500,000

    1870-1875

  • 1875

    Measles / Fiji

    Claimed the lives of at least 40,000

  • 1875-1876

    Scarlet Fever / Australia

    Claimed the lives of 8,000

    1875-1876

  • 1881-1896

    Cholera / Asia, Africa, Europe, South America

    Called the Fifth Cholera Pandemic as it was the fifth  major international outbreak of cholera in the 19th century. The death toll was estimated to be over 290,000. It spread throughout Asia and Africa, and reached parts of France, Germany, Russia, and South America.

  • 1885

    Smallpox / Canada

    Montreal smallpox epidemic, estimated death toll over 3000

    1885

  • 1889-1890

    Influenza / Worldwide

    The 1889–1890 flu pandemic, was also  known as the Asiatic and Russian flu. It  killed around a million people worldwide out of a population of about 1.5 billion and was the last great pandemic of the 19th century.

  • 1896-1905

    Bubonic Plague / India

    The Bombay plague epidemic struck the city of Bombay (now Mumbai). This plague killed over 20,000, and many fled the city leading to a drastic fall in the city’s population.  It was thought to  have been caused by the rapid growth of Bombay’s commerce leading to a  large influx of workers.

    1896-1905

  • 1896-1906

    African trypanosomiasis / Africa

    The Congo Basin African trypanosomiasis epidemic is caused by an insect-borne parasitic infection of humans and other animals. It is often called the African sleeping sickness or simply sleeping sickness. This epidemic claimed the lives of around 500,00 Africans.

  • 1899-1923

    Cholera / Europe, Asia, Africa

    Known as the Six Cholera Pandemic, it was thought to have originated at Haridwar Kumbh Mela, an event held every 12 year in Haridwar, India and quickly spread to  Europe via Punjab, Afghanistan, Persia, and southern Russia and claimed the lives of over 800,000 people.

    1899-1923

  • 1900

    Bubonic Plague / Australia

    Sydney bubonic plague epidemic, killed over 100 people

  • 1900-1920

    African trypanosomiasis / Uganda

    Another bout of the African Sleeping Sickness.  Thought to have killed anywhere between 200,00-300,000 Ugandans

    1900-1920

  • 1901-2009

    Kuru / Papua New Guinea

    Papua New Guinea Kuru Epidemic.  Kuru is a rare and fatal neurodegenerative disorder which was common among the Fore people of Papua New Guinea. Kuru is a form of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) caused by the transmission of abnormally folded proteins (prion proteins), which leads to symptoms such as tremors and loss of coordination from neurodegeneration. It has claimed over 3000 lives.

  • 1903

    Bubonic Plague / India

    A smaller but nonetheless significant epidemic claiming the lives of over 20 people

    1903

  • 1903

    Bubonic Plague / Australia

    Death toll 4.

  • 1915

    Encephalitis lethargica / Worldwide

    Death toll 1.5 million Encephalitis lethargica is an unusual form of encephalitis. Also known as “sleeping sickness”. The disease attacks the brain, leaving some victims in a statue-like condition, speechless and motionless. From  1915 to 1926 the encephalitis lethargica spread pandemic spread across the world infecting over five  million people a third of whom died in the acute stages.Many of those who survived never regained their health. Estimated death toll as around  1.5 million

    1915

  • 1918

    Influenza (Spanish Flu) / Worldwide

    This pandemic was also known as the Spanish Flu and conceded with the end of the First World War. This was an unusually deadly pandemic caused by the H1N1 influenza A virus. It lasted from February 1918 to April 1920 and infected 500 million people (around a  third of the world’s population at the time). There were  four successive waves and the  death toll is estimated to be between  17 and  50 million, but possibly as high as 100 million, making it one of the deadliest pandemics in human history.

  • 1927

    Typhoid Fever / Canada

    The Montreal typhoid fever epidemic claimed the lives of over 500 Canadians

    1927

  • 1929-1930

    Psittacosis / Worldwide

    The 1929–1930 psittacosis pandemic, also known as the the great parrot fever pandemic was a series of simultaneous outbreaks of psittacosis accelerated by the breeding and transportation of birds in crowded containers for trade and was initially to have originated in  parrots from South America. It was shortly found to have spread from several species of birds from several countries worldwide to humans between mid 1929 and early 1930. Diagnosed by its clinical features and link to birds, it affected around 750- 800 people globally, with a mortality of 15% (death toll estimated at over 100) . Its mode of transmission to humans by mouth-to-beak contact or inhaling dried bird secretions and droppings was not known at the time. The cause was  Chlamydia psittaci a bacteria  which lays dormant in birds until activated by stress of capture or confinement.  Cases were reported in mid 1929, in Birmingham, United Kingdom, and linked to parrots from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where an ongoing outbreak of the disease had led to the cautioning bird owners to declare their sick parrots.

  • 1937

    Typhoid Fever / UK

    The Croydon typhoid outbreak of 1937 was an outbreak of typhoid fever in Croydon. It resulted in 341 cases of typhoid (43 fatal), and  caused considerable local discontent leading to a media campaign and a public inquiry.

    1937

  • 1937

    Poliomyelitis / Australia

    The Australia polio epidemic, death toll unknown