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History of Hygiene
Graphs and Statistics

Death (Epidemic Style)


AD 541-542: The Plague of Justinian struck the Byzantine Empire, killing an estimated 5000 people in the central city of Constantinople every day at its peak, and up to 40% of its inhabitants in total. This plague returned each generation to the Mediterranean area until approximately 750 AD, killing up to 25% of the eastern Mediterranean population.

1200s: Smallpox wiped out approximately 25% of the Aztec population, playing a large part in their eventual defeat by the Spanish. Smallpox is also thought to be responsible for killing most of the Native Americans following the arrival of Europeans.

1347-1353: The first wave of the Black Death hit England, spread by bites from fleas that dwelled on black rats. Originating in the ports, the disease spread via trade routes. Epidemics of this disease are thought to have broken out in Europe over 100 times until the 1700’s, killing an estimated 75 million people worldwide, including 30-60% of Europe’s population. The poor were the greatest sufferers.

1700s: Smallpox killed 60 million Europeans including 5 monarchs. Of those infected, approximately one third died and a third of the survivors became blind.

1817: Cholera broke out in Calcutta and rapidly spread across India, the Middle East, Russia and China. Victims of cholera can go from healthy to dead in a few hours. Six subsequent pandemics killed millions of people across all continents. Cholera continues to be a threat wherever people lack safe water supply and basic sanitation, such as refugee camps; in the wake of Haiti’s January 2010 earthquake it has been predicted that cholera will kill an estimated 10,000 people and infect 200,000 more in 2011.

1855: The “Third Pandemic” of Black Death hit China before spreading and ultimately killing over 12 million people in China and India.

1918-1919: Spanish flu killed 50-100 million people in a worldwide epidemic. Doctors reported bluish faces, blood-stained sputum, black feet, lungs full of fluid…

1981: AIDS epidemic. Since the first year that AIDS was recognised, over 25 million people have died worldwide from this cause.

2009: Swine flu pandemic. Until officially declared over in Australia on 1 December 2010, the swine flu (H1N1) pandemic killed 213 people in Australia, and at least 16,000 people (confirmed) worldwide between April 2009 and February 2010.


useful stuff...

How Australian pandemics have changed! The 1919 Spanish Flu pandemic caused over 10,000 deaths in Australia,14 whereas the 2009-10 H1N1 pandemic ("Swine Flu") caused 191 deaths.15 English knights were required to bathe at least once in their lives - during the ritual of their knighthood ceremony. Because of this tradition, during the reign of King Henry IV there originated an order called "Knights of the Bath".16 The term "shampoo" came from Indian language and originally meant "massage".17 English society ladies held vacuuming parties after invention of the horse-drawn electric vacuum in 1901.18
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