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A History Timeline of Epidemics & Plagues

Epidemics Plagues Small Pox Influenza Disease

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Before the Common Era


A mutation in the CMAH gene on chromosome six makes it impossible for human ancestors to produce Neu5Gc anymore; instead, they made more of another sialic acid, Neu5Ac. The change likely develops as a defense against malaria more than 2 million years ago according to multiple molecular clock methods.


A burst of evolution in our immune cells occurs in an ancestor of all three types of humans by at least 600,000 years ago.


A German-led group has concluded that tuberculosis had been infecting humans since after 4000 B.C.


Some scientists believe that hepatitis B had been infecting humans since the Bronze Age circa 3000 B.C.


A new strain of Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that causes plague, has been found in DNA extracted from human remains of a 20-year-old woman who died approximately 5,000 years ago in Sweden.[1] 3000 B.C.


Mass graves at the Hamin Mangha archaeological site in Northeast China appear to contain indications of Yersinia pestis. These graves date to circa 3000 B.C.


Plague rages in Rome.[2]  430 B.C.


Historians are uncertain whether a disease that struck Athens was smallpox, typhus or Y. Pestis. The outbreak is dated to 430 B.C.


Pericles, the patriotic demagogue who dominated Athenian politics, dies of what some think to be the plague.[3] 429 B.C.


In the Book of Epidemics, Hippocrates described a putative influenza-like illness syndrome called "fever of Perinthus" or "cough of Perinthus." 412 B.C.


Smallpox strikes a Carthaginian army besieging Syracuse.[4] 396 B.C.


Roman writer and scholar Marcus Terentius Varro proposes the idea that invisible particles which enter the body through the nose and mouth can cause illness and disease[5] circa 90 B.C.

[2] Trager

[3] Roberts. Trager. See also C&P.

[4] Trager

[5] Kagan

The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls




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The First Millennium of the Common Era


Anthrax strikes the cattle and horses of tribespeople on the borders of China, where an extended drought withers the grasslands.[i] 80 A.D.


An epidemic of anthrax runs through the Roman Empire killing thousands of animals and people.[ii] 80 A.D.


Titus, emperor of the Roman Empire, dies of the plague at Cutilia. His brother Domitian succeeds him.[iii]  September 19, 81 A.D.


The Antonine Plague was probably brought to Rome by victorious soldiers returning from Parthia. Probably smallpox, it killed as many as 2,000 people a day in Rome, according to historian Cassius Dio. Some modern scholars believe this catastrophe, which killed as many as 5 million people in Europe, contributed to the spread of Christianity, which promised a life after death for believers, this time spared of earthly woes.  The plague spread so fast that an emperor and his entourage tried to outrun it on horseback. Yet its cause remains undetermined. Fast-developing techniques of ancient DNA analysis promise a more precise picture.165-180 A.D.


Alexandria suffers plague which spreads to Carthage and Rome, where it kills as many as 5,000 people a day at its height.  249-262 A.D.


A five year epidemic of plague, likely transmitted via the Silk Road, afflicts Rome and much of its empire[iv] circa 265 A.D.


Claudius II dies of the plague and is succeeded by Lucius Domitus Aurelianus[v] 270 A.D.


A disease, probably bubonic plague, strikes the British Isles.[vi]  444 A.D.


The Byzantine Empire is afflicted by the bubonic plague. It is believed to have killed as much as one-third of the population of Europe, or more. The Emperor Justinian contracted the disease, but lived.[vii]  541 – 546 A.D.


The Great Plague of Justinian reaches the British Isles.[viii]  547 A.D.


Variola, the small pox virus, is thought by an international research team to have been present in humans as far back as 600 A.D.

The plague ravishes the British Isles.[ix] 664 A.D.


Epidemics are a leading suspect for the Classic Maya Collapse of roughly 700-900 A.D.


According to the Shoku Nihongi, smallpox was introduced into the  Fukuoka Prefecture in Japan from Korea. The death toll from this epidemic is estimated to have been one million. 735 A.D.

[i] Trager. 

[ii] Kagan

[iii] K&K. See also Isbouts.

[iv] Kagan

[v] K&K

[vi] Trager

[vii] Isbouts. See also Frankopan and https://www.courthou...s-and-humanity/.

[viii] Trager

[ix] K&K

The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls




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1000 Common Era to 1500 of the Common Era


The first fire and plague insurance is offered, in Iceland.[i]  1151 A.D.


Leprosy is brought to Europe by crusaders.[ii]  1230 A.D.


Saint Roch dies.  He would come to be associated with the plague. During his life, he had distributed inherited wealth to hospitals, and while returning from a pilgrimage to Rome had encountered an epidemic and stayed to help the sick.[iii]  1327 A.D.


An outbreak of bubonic plague (also known as Black Death) hits China.[iv] 1333 A.D.


First reports of the plague emerge from cities in southern Russia.[v]  1345 - 1347 A.D.


The plague appears in India.[vi] 1346 A.D.


Genoese trading ships put into the harbor of Messina in Sicily with sufferers of the plague on board. The ships had come from the Black Sea port of Caffa (now Feodosiya) in the Crimea, where the Genoese maintained a trading post. The Black Death will eventually claim three or four fifths of the citizens of Florence as well as two thirds of the citizens of Venice and half of the population of Siena. An estimated ten thousand friars will lose their lives serving those afflicted with the fatal disease.  [vii]  October 1347 A.D. 


The Black Death reaches Cairo, killing one-third of the population of Egypt.[viii]  1347 A.D.


The Black Death penetrates to cities in northern France and to Bavaria[ix] by the middle of 1348 A.D.


The Black Death cuts a deep swathe in England’s population.[x]  1348 – 1349 A.D.


The Norse economy recoils from a Black Death epidemic, with especially devastating results in Iceland.[xi]  1349 A.D.


The Decameron by Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio is completed. The book contains 100 tales told by a group of seven young women and three young men sheltering in a secluded villa just outside Florence to escape the Black Death. 1353 A.D.


The Black Death reappears in England.[xii] 1361 A.D.


Recurrence of the Black Death hits Italy.[xiii]  1373-1374 A.D.


The seaport in Ragusa, modern day Dubrovnik, issued a “trentina” – derived from the Italian word for 30 (trenta). Ships traveling from areas with high rates of plague were required to stay offshore for 30 days before docking. 1377 A.D.


An order concerning quarantine and cleansing is passed in England.[xiv]  1443 A.D.

[i] Kagan.

[ii] Kagan

[iii] Tuchman

[iv] Roberts. Kagan.

[v] K&K. Science indicates the first documented appearance of the Black Plague was in 1346.

[vi] Tuchman.

[vii] Tuchman. Talbot. See also Frankopan and Kagan.

[viii] Kagan

[ix] Frankopan. Tuchman.

[x] Moore

[xi] The European Discovery of America – The Northern Voyages, Samuel Eliot Morrison

[xii] Kagan

[xiii] Tuchman

[xiv] Kagan

The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls




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1500 to 1649


The first reliable documents regarding influenza-like illness syndrome date from when the virus spread from Africa to Europe. 1510 A.D.


Smallpox appears for the first time among the Tenochtitlán (included in where Mexico City now stands) inhabitants[i] circa 1520 A.D.


An outbreak, perhaps of influenza, but more likely smallpox kills a large proportion of the Cakchiquel Mayan population of Guatemala[ii] in the 1520s A.D.

Wayne Qhapaq suddenly becomes ill, probably from small pox, and expires in his Ecuadorian retreat. Concurrently, a small pox epidemic sweeps his kingdom. His succession is contested.[iii]  1525 A.D.


Small pox strikes Tawatinsuyu (the Incan empire).[iv] 1533 A.D.


Another epidemic of small pox strikes Tawatinsuyu.[v] 1535 A.D.


The Cocoliztli Epidemic kills an estimated 15 million indigenous Americans in Mexico, Central and South America. It was the most devastating morbidity in history, killing off as much as 90% of the native population. “Cocoliztli” is the Nahuatl word for pestilence. It was probably a combination of pathogens for which the Native Americans were unprepared, including measles, smallpox and Salmonella enterica, subspecies Paratyphi C, also known as typhus.[vi] Circa 1545-1550 A.D.


Oran is decimated by the bubonic plague. 1556 A.D.


The first flu pandemic, or worldwide epidemic, occurs, though some scholars deny that it really was an outbreak of influenza.  1557 A.D.


Small pox again sweeps Tawantinsuyu. Influenza also strikes that year.[vii]  1558 A.D.


Another small pox epidemic strikes Tawantinsuyu.[viii]  1565 A.D.


Typhoid kills two million natives of Latin America[ix] 1567 A.D.


Major plague outbreaks occur in Egypt.[x]  1570s A.D.


The first pandemic/ worldwide epidemic that undoubtedly fits the description of influenza appears, beginning in Asia and Russia and spreading to Europe via Asia Minor and North-West Africa. In Rome, it will cause the death of over 8,000 people, while in Spain it decimates the populations of entire cities. 1580 A.D.


Typhus strikes Württenberg, in what is now Germany and the Tyrol in what is now Austria and appears in Magdeburg in what is now Germany.[xi] 1613 A.D.


Plague appears at Regensburg and Leipzig and spreads through bohemia, Austria, and eastward.[xii]  1613 A.D.


Diptheria strikes the remnants of the Inca empire.[xiii]  1614 A.D.


Bubonic plague becomes epidemic in India.[xiv]  1617 A.D.


An epidemic of what is probably small pox sweeps the New England region.   Some estimates are that the native population is reduced from 10,000 to 1,000.[xv]  1617 A.D.


Smallpox spreads south from New England to Virginia, where it kills Chief Powhatan and many of his tribesmen.[xvi] 1618 A.D.


A diphtheria epidemic kills up to 8,000 at Naples, Italy.[xvii]  1618 A.D.


Sailing down the coast of what is now Maine, Thomas Dermer finds Indian lands “not long since populous, now totally void” and small groups of survivors covered in plague sores.[xviii]  1619


A Black Death epidemic kills 41,000 in London.[xix]  1625 A.D.


Bubonic plague kills half of the population of Lyons, France.[xx]  1628 A.D.


The bubonic plague enters northern Italy from Germany.[xxi]  1629 A.D.


Bubonic plague kills 500,000 Venetians, hastening the decline of Venice.[xxii]  1630 A.D.


Forces under Gustavus Adolphus II of Sweden defeat troops of Count von Tilly at the confluence of the Lenz and the Danube.  Munich surrenders to Adolphus II. Albrecht von Wallenstein commands forces that try to stop Adolphus II . Both sides withdraw from Nuremberg after 18,000 have died of scurvy and typhus.[xxiii]  1632 A.D.


Spared by earlier epidemics, the Narrangansett of New England are crushed by a small pox epidemic.[xxiv]  1633 A.D.


Yellow fever breaks out in Guadeloupe and Saint Kitts in the West Indies.  The French physician Duterte gives the first reliable account of the disease in western medical literature.[xxv]  1635 A.D.


Another epidemic of the Black Death strikes London.[xxvi]  1636 A.D.


Typhus ravages an English Cavalier army of 20,000 and a Parliamentary army of the same size at Oxford.  Consequently, Charles I is forced to abandon plans to take London.[xxvii]  1643 A.D.


An epidemic of yellow fever sweeps the West Indies.[xxviii]  1647 A.D.


A yellow fever epidemic sweeps the Yucatan Peninsula.[xxix]  1648 A.D.

[i] Frankopan

[ii] Frankopan

[iii] Mann

[iv] Mann

[v] Mann

[vi] Mann

[vii] Mann

[viii] Mann

[ix] Kagan

[x] Kagan

[xi] Trager

[xii] Trager

[xiii] Mann

[xiv] Trager

[xv] Trager.  

[xvi] Trager. Jefferson.

[xvii] Trager

[xviii] Woodard.

[xix] Trager

[xx] Trager

[xxi] Sobel

[xxii] Trager

[xxiii] Trager

[xxiv] Mann

[xxv] Trager

[xxvi] Trager

[xxvii] Trager

[xxviii] Trager

[xxix] Trager

The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls




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1650 to 1749


Britain suffers a typhus epidemic that by one account “converts the whole island into one vast hospital.”[1]  1650 A.D.


John Graunt makes the basic discovery that large amounts of statistical data concerning epidemics display regularities or patterns not evident from small numbers.[2]  1662 A.D.


London suffers from a severe plague. Some two-thirds of London’s 460,000 inhabitants leave town to avoid the contagion, but at least 65,596 die plus a few at Norwich, Newcastel, Portsmouth, Southhampton, and Sunderland. A rumor that contracting syphilis will serve to ward off the more deadly plague drives men in London to storm the city’s brothels. [3]  1665 A.D.


Birmingham is swept by plague.[4]  1665 A.D.


Many physicians flee England.[5] 1665 A.D.


A small pox epidemic rages through the Saint Lawrence River valley, killing almost all the Algonquins and Montagnais in the area.[6]  1669 A.D.


Incidence of the Black Death begins to decline in England as the brown rat replaces the black rat, which is more inclined to carry plague-fleas.[7] 1673 A.D.


Bubonic plague once again strikes Oran, Algeria. 1687 A.D.


A small pox epidemic in the Massachusetts colony kills more than a thousand in twelve months.[8]  1689 A.D.


England’s Mary II dies of small pox leaving her husband William to rule alone.[9]  December 28, 1694 A.D.


Yellow fever epidemic kills 150 at Charleston and 220 at Philadelphia.[10] 1699 A.D.


A yellow fever epidemic kills 570 New Yorkers.[11]  1702 A.D.


The Black Death kills 300,000 in Austria and 215,000 in Brandenburg.[12]  1711 A.D.


London physician John Woodward receives a letter from Greek physician Emanuel Timoni describing a method for preventing smallpox by immunization.[13] 1713 A.D.


A small pox epidemic spreads from the sailors at the Cape of Good Hope, killing Khoisan hunters and herders in great numbers.[14]  1713 A.D.


Innoculation Against Small Pox by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu reports on inoculation parties against the disease that she has witnessed. At these events, a small wound is made in the arm, a few drops of smallpox pus inserted, and a walnut shell is tied over the infected area. This produces a mild case of small pox with 98% recovering from the ailment.[15] 1718 A.D. 


A London smallpox epidemic breaks out.  Lady Mary Worltey Montagu has her five-year-old daughter inoculated in the presence of some leading physicians.  The child develops a mild case of smallpox that immunizes her.  George I has two of his grandchildren inoculated. George I’s treatment occurs after the procedure has been tested on eleven charity school children and six inmates of the Newgate Prison.  The inmates volunteered for treatment in exchange for the commutation of their death penalty.[16] 1721 A.D.


A ship from West Indies brings a smallpox epidemic to Boston.[17] April 1721 A.D.


Having had read the account of variolation published by physician John Woodward, Cotton Mather writes a treatise urging physicians of Boston to try inoculation to protect the community from smallpox.  This sets off a great controversy, with Dr. William Douglas opposing the experiment.[18] June 1721 A.D.


Physician Zabdiel Boylston is the only Boston physician to take Mather’s advice and inoculates his thirteen-year-old son and two black slaves.[19] June 26, 1721 A.D.


Boylston goes on to inoculate 247 colonists. Six of the colonists inoculated by Boylston did die, and Boylston is accused by many of spreading the pox.  He is denounced for interfering with nature, and narrowly escapes being hanged by a mob. Another epidemic strikes with 5,759 Bostonians – more than half of the population – coming down with the pox.  The death toll reaches 844, more than 14%, as compared with 2.42% of Boylston’s inoculated patients.[20] 1721 A.D.


Cotton Mather points out to the Royal Society in London that inoculations performed by Zabdiel Boylston, supported by Mather and his cohorts, resulted in the statistically far lower chance of dying from the smallpox compared to those who contracted the disease naturally.[21] March 1722 A.D.


Another smallpox epidemic hits Boston during which Dr. William Douglas and other physicians in Boston inoculate their patients.[22]  1729 – 1730 A.D.


Boston physician William Douglas gives the first clinical description of scarlet fever.[23] 1736 A.D.


Typhus epidemics take thousands of lives in central German states and in Ireland.[24]  1740 A.D.



[1] Trager

[2] Burkes

[3] Webster. Trager. See also The Nation, “Tales of Two Plagues,” Katha Pollit, April 6, 2020, page 10.  Pollit indicates that in London, about one in five succumb.

[4] Webster

[5] Trager

[6] JC&E

[7] Trager

[8] Trager

[9] Trager

[10] Trager

[11] Trager

[12] Trager

[13] Boorstin. Trager

[14] K&K

[15] Trager

[16] Trager 

[17] Boorstin.Trager.

[18] Boorstin. Trager

[19] Trager

[20] Trager.

[21] Boorstin. Trager.

[22] Boorstin

[23] Trager

[24] Trager

The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls




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1750 to 1950


An essay On the Most Efficient Means of Preserving the Health of Seamen by James Lind establishes principles of hygiene to guard against typhus and other diseases.[1]  1757 A.D.


Bubonic plague ravages Russia during the reign of Catherine the Great. 1770-1792 A.D.


A small pox pandemic strikes natives near Boston. [2] 1774 A.D.


Small pox decimates the Continental army in the north. Some 5,500 of the 10,000 man force are incapacitated[3] by June 1776 A.D.


A case of small pox is detected at Mexico City.[4]  August 1779 A.D.


By year’s end an estimated eighteen thousand die of small pox in the Mexico City area.[5] 1779 A.D.


Small pox strikes Columbia.[6] 1780-1781 A.D.


An influenza pandemic spreads from China to Russia, Europe and North America. 1781-1782 A.D.


Small pox strikes Ecuador.[7]  1783 A.D.


Bubonic plague takes as many as 800,000 lives in Egypt.[8]  1792 A.D.


Vancouver Island is circumnavigated by Vancouver. He finds deserted villages, abandoned fishing boats and many human remains.  Apparently, the result of a recent small pox epidemic.[9]  1792 A.D.


Small Pox strikes Boston.[10]  1792 A.D.


An epidemic of Yellow fever grips Philadelphia.  It is estimated that 5,000 die from this outbreak. 1797 A.D.


A country doctor in England, Edward Jenner, in his Inquiry into the Variolae vaccinae known as the Cow Pox describes the protective effect of cowpox as a vaccine against smallpox.[11]  1796 A.D.


A typhus epidemic kills thousands of Britons as starvation tied to poor crop yields makes the country vulnerable to disease.[12] 1798 A.D.


Boston’s Board of Health orders vaccination against smallpox.  The board begins to improve the city’s hygiene, regulate burials, and impose quarantines.[13] 1802 A.D.


A pandemic of cholera originates in India. 1817 A.D.


Sumatra suffers a cholera epidemic.[14]  1819 A.D.


Some 80,000 of Napolean’s fores are sick with dysenterey, enteric fever, and typhus after the Battle of Ostrowo.[15]  July 1812 A.D.


A cholera epidemic begins to kill thousands in China.[16]  1820 A.D.


Yellow fever strikes New York city as thousands flee to Greenwich Village.[17] 1822 A.D.


Asiatic cholera reaches the gateway to Russia at Astrakhan.[18]  1823 A.D.


Cholera breaks out in Astrakhan, Russia.[19]  1829 A.D.


Cholera strikes Austria and Germany.[20]  1829 A.D.


Cholera spreads from Astrakham throughout the interior of Russia. The pandemic kills an estimated 900,000[21] in 1830 A.D.


An influenza pandemic spreads from China to India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Russia, Europe and North America. 1830-1833 A.D.


In Sunderland, cholera claims its first English victim.[22]  October 20, 1831 A.D.


Cholera epidemic in England.[23]  Winter of 1831 – 1832 A.D.


A cholera epidemic strikes Scotland.  Thomas Latta at Leith injects a saline solution to save the life of a cholera patient thus pioneering a new treatment.[24] 1832 A.D.


A cholera epidemic reaches New York.[25]  1832 A.D.


A cholera epidemic hits England.[26] 1848 A.D.


Dr. John Snow comes to the conclusion that cholera was spreading via tainted water and decides to display neighborhood mortality data directly on a map. This method reveals a cluster of cases around a specific pump from which people are drawing their water. 1854 A.D.


The Medical Officer for London, John Simon, runs test in nine London parishes which show that in Lambeth, where sand filters are used in the water supply system, death rates have dropped dramatically.[27]  1856 A.D.


Parliament passes legislation to renew and develop the entire London sewerage system. The sewage is to be piped away to outfalls in the Thames river where tidal flow will take it out to sea.[28]  1858 A.D.


In Wöllstein, Prussia, Robert Koch cultures anthrax bacillus and comes to the conclusion that the bacillus produces spores in animal tissues.[29] 1876 A.D. 


A combination of famine and epidemic hits the Saharan countries.[30] 1867 – 1869 A.D.


The Norwegian physician H.A. Hansen discovers Mycobacterium leprae, the cause of leprosy.[31] 1871 A.D.


The German Doctor Karl Eberth discovers the typhoid bacillus.[32]  1881 A.D.


The Russian Flu (also known as 1889–1890 flu pandemic or as the Asiatic flu) is first reported in Bukhara, in the Russian Empire. May 1889 A.D.


The Russian Flu reaches Saint Petersburg.   November 1889 A.D.


Deaths from the Russian Flu peak in Saint Petersburg. December 1, 1889 A.D.


The Russian Flu outbreak peaks in the United States during the week of  January 12, 1890 A.D.


Milwaukee suffers an outbreak of smallpox. During the course of the year-long epidemic, almost 900 people develop smallpox, and 244 die. 1894-95 A.D.


An influenza epidemic spreads from Europe to India, Australia, and North and South America. 1898-1900 A.D.


A cholera epidemic kills a large proportion of the population in Oran, Algeria. 1899 A.D.


The Yellow Fever Commission announces that the disease is carried by mosquitoes.[33]  February 22, 1902 A.D.


Doctor Paul Ehrlich puts forward a new drug for syphilis, known as salvarsan.[34]  June 22, 1910 A.D.


German veterinarians puzzled over the case of a feverish cat with an enormously swollen belly. This is now thought to be the first reported example of the debilitating power of a coronavirus. 1912 A.D.


An official announcement of the existence of an epidemic polio infection is made in Brooklyn, New York. Over the course of that year, there were over 27,000 cases and more than 6,000 deaths due to polio in the United States, with over 2,000 deaths in New York City alone. June 17, 1916 A.D.


The Centers for Disease Control estimates the inaccurately named Spanish Flu (it is now thought not to have originated in Spain) infected one-third of the world’s people, killing 50 million — 675,000 in the United States. 1918-1919 A.D.


English scientists Wilson Smith, Sir Christopher Andrewes, and Sir Patrick Laidlaw, working at the Medical Research Council at Mill Hill, first isolate the influenza A virus from nasal secretions of infected patients, thereby demonstrating the intranasal human transmission of the Spanish Flu virus.  1932-1933 A.D.


The yellow fever virus becomes the first human virus to be isolated. 1927 A.D.


Large studies are begun on the first influenza virus vaccines; these provided the first official proof that inactivated influenza vaccines could yield effective protection against flu epidemics. December 1942 A.D.


 As a result of viral mutation, a new variant of influenza A (H1N1), A/FM/1/47, appears in Australia. This gives rise to a new influenza subtype, the H2N2 strain, which will cause the pandemic known as Asian flu. 1946 A.D


The mosquito borne Zika virus is first identified in Uganda.  1947 A.D.


The Plague (French: La Peste) is a novel by Albert Camus that tells the story from the point of view of an unknown narrator of a plague sweeping the French Algerian city of Oran. The novel presents a snapshot of life in Oran as seen through a distinctive absurdist point of view. Published in 1947 A.D.


[1] Trager

[2] Mann

[3] Trager

[4] Mann.

[5] Mann

[6] Mann

[7] Mann

[8] Trager

[9] Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary. Mann.

[10] Trager

[11] K&K

[12] Trager

[13] Trager

[14] Trager

[15] Trager

[16] Trager

[17] Trager

[18] Trager

[19] Trager

[20] Burke

[21] Trager. See also Webster.

[22] Burke

[23] Thompson

[24] Trager

[25] Trager

[26] Thompson

[27] Burke

[28] Burke

[29] Burke

[30] Hobsbawm

[31] Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary

[32] K&K

[33] K&K

[34] K&K

The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls




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1950 to Present


The first system for the surveillance of circulating influenza virus strains in several countries worldwide is created by the World Health Organization (WHO) in order to monitor the various virus mismatches reported. 1952 A.D.


Dr. Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine is given to children in Pittsburgh.[i]  February 23, 1954 A.D.


The first cases of the Asian flu are reported in Guizhou in late 1956 or February 1957 A.D. 


The Asian flu (also known as the 1957–1958 influenza pandemic) reaches the United States.  February 1957 A.D.


Attributed to the outbreak of the Asian flu the Dow Jones Industrial Average loses 15% of its value in the second half of 1957 A.D.


The Hong Kong flu (also known as 1968 flu pandemic) outbreak in 1968 and 1969 kills an estimated one million people all over the world. The first record of the outbreak in Hong Kong appears on July 13, 1968 A.D.


The Hong Kong flu  reaches India, the Philippines, northern Australia, and Europe by September 1968 A.D.


As a result of a major mutation, a new virus strain, H1N1, appeared on the global epidemiological scene. This strain, which was similar to a virus circulating in 1958, emerged in Russia and began to co-circulate, either simultaneously or alternately, with the previous one. 1978 A.D.


The virus that causes AIDS is identified.[ii]  April 23, 1984 A.D.


The Hot Zone by Richard Preston is published.  1994 A.D.


Outbreak is released. It is a medical disaster film directed by Wolfgang Petersen and based on Richard Preston's nonfiction book The Hot Zone. 1995 A.D.


The so-called "avian flu" pandemic breaks out in Hong Kong. This is caused by influenza virus A/ H5N1, a highly pathogenic strain. 1997 A.D.


In Ecuador the number of cholera cases reaches 3,084, surpassing that for all of 1997.[iii]  Mid-February 1998 A.D.


Nipah virus outbreak occurs in the states of PerakNegeri Sembilan and Selangor in Malaysia. A total of 265 cases of acute encephalitis with 105 deaths caused by the virus are reported in the three states throughout the outbreak.[iv] September 1998 to May 1999 A.D.


In England, an outbreak of hoof and mouth disease leads to the slaughter of 3 million animals. [v] February 21, 2001 A.D.


The influenza virus H1N1, transmitted to humans by pigs, was estimated to have caused more than 200,000 deaths in the first 12 months of its circulation. 2009 A.D.


The first identified case of MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) occurs in Saudi Arabia. 2012 A.D. 

The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls



    Kronstadt sailors did nothing wrong!

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This is an amazing resource. Thanks for posting Caltrek :)




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^^^Thank you for the kind words.


Notably missing, or at least not fully represented, are relatively recent developments regarding Covid-19.  Maybe someday, hopefully soon, some resolution of this crisis will give us a better sense of how to include this outbreak in the overall timeline.


After posting the above, an example of how references to history can help guide our discussion of Covid-19 cropped up in a Science article.  So, I will use that article as an example of how further annotations to this timeline can be made. First, I will start with a citation from the timeline:


The virus that causes AIDS is identified.[ii]  April 23, 1984 A.D.


Now a relevant passage from the article:


A cocktail of powerful antiviral drugs revolutionized HIV treatment in the West in 1996, saving many lives, but it took 7 years for the drugs to become widely available in Africa, the hardest hit continent.





Another citation from the timeline:


The influenza virus H1N1, transmitted to humans by pigs, was estimated to have caused more than 200,000 deaths in the first 12 months of its circulation. 2009 A.D.


Another relevant passage from the Science article.


During the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, the United States and many European countries donated 10% of their vaccine stocks to poorer countries—but only after it became clear they had enough for their own populations. “Too many had to wait too long for too little,” says Richard Hatchett, CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, a partner in COVAX.



The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls




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No real dates referenced in the following article, but still of great historical interest:


Birx Says Most Covid Deaths in US Were Preventable, So Ted Lieu Asks: Why Didn't You Challenge Trump?





(Common Dreams) After Former White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said this weekend that hundreds of thousands of Covid-19 deaths in the United States could have been avoided had the previous administration responded more quickly and purposefully, Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California slammed the official for enabling former President Donald Trump's "malicious incompetence."


During an interview featured in a CNN documentary titled Covid War: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out, which aired Sunday, CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta asked Birx to describe "how much of an impact" she thinks it would have made had public authorities taken earlier and more decisive action to mitigate the spread of the virus.


"I look at it this way: The first time, we have an excuse. There were about 100,000 deaths that came from that original surge," Birx told Gupta. "All of the rest of them, in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially."


The national Covid-19 death toll is approaching 550,000, which means that, if Birx's assessment of the country's pandemic response is correct, more than 400,000 Americans died—and millions of loved ones suffered—unnecessarily as a result of political negligence. One journalist called the admission "utterly devastating."


Birx's acknowledgement that coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States could have been significantly lower provoked a sharp rebuke from Lieu, who criticized the former White House official for not publicly objecting to Trump's lethal mishandling of the pandemic.

The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls




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No surprises here (see below), although I doubt this will silence the critics who insist on spreading the lab escape idea.


WHO Report Into COVID  Pandemic Origins Zeroes In On Animal Markets, Not Labs





(Nature) Markets that sold animals — some dead, some alive — in December 2019 have emerged as a probable source of the coronavirus pandemic in a major investigation organized by the World Health Organization (WHO).


That investigation winnowed out alternative hypotheses on when and where the pandemic arose, concluding that the virus probably didn’t spread widely before December or escape from a laboratory. The investigation report, released today, also takes a deep look at the likely role of markets — including the Huanan market in Wuhan, to which many of the first known COVID-19 infections are linked.

The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Epidemics, Plagues, Small Pox, Influenza, Disease

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