5 of the Most Terrible Epidemics That Won’t Happen Again (thanks to vaccines)

Written by on August 16, 2013 in Featured on App, Flu, Prophylactic Vaccines with 2 Comments


When I think of modern-day epidemics – HIV/AIDS, meningitis, threats of H7N9 – I find it easy to feel like we are helpless, sitting vulnerable to the whims of nature and viral mutation.

But it’s easy to forget that we are not without defense. Disease has always plagued mankind. While we fear novel coronaviruses and polio raising its head, we should remember that far greater epidemics and pandemics have ravaged the Earth in the past two thousand years. Epidemics that have crippled the strongest armies, had a sizeable impact on the world’s population, and made their way onto the thrones of the most powerful nations. Click next to read the top 5 most terrible epidemics to have dismantled society – and which, thanks to vaccines, humans have overthrown from the seat of power

Antonine Plague – AD 165–189

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The world’s first recorded plague, the Antonine Plague, ravaged the Roman Empire from AD 165 – 189, during the reign of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. The disease is thought to have most likely been smallpox, although it could have been measles. The pandemic is thought to have originated in Asia and brought home by Roman soldiers returning from campaigns. The disease is estimated have taken the lives of 5 million people – and may have also precipitated the decline of the Roman Empire

In 1967, the WHO embarked on a campaign to eradicate smallpox using Wyeth’s DryVax smallpox vaccine - and the last known case of smallpox was in 1977 in Somalia. No vaccination of the general population has been carried out since the declaration of eradication, but the CDC website states that the US currently has a big enough stockpile of the smallpox vaccine to vaccinate the population in the event of an emergency. ACAM2000 is a live, vaccinia virus smallpox vaccine developed by Sanofi Pasteur (formally Acambis), and the vaccine is replacing DryVax as the major smallpox vaccine in use read more).

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