To celebrate the end of E3 we give you eight of the most devastating and surprising plagues to have manhandled humanity. So make sure to wash your hands and learn a thing or two.

The Plague of Justinian hit the Eastern Roman Empire in 541 AD, it is responsible for the loss of 40% of their population. This was also the Bubonic plague, it just happened to pop up here a century before it hit the rest of Europe.

In 1665 the Bubonic plague hit London and caused 100,000 deaths. This plague gave rise to the plague doctor, the imagery of the mask has lasted to today and still brings about a certain feeling of terror. Credit for halting the plague is given to the great London fire of 1666, which held the plague at bay by burning basically everything.

In 1771 the plague finally took its final toll on Russia. It caused up to 100,000 deaths in Moscow alone, which decimated the populace. The plague caused the Plague Riot in Moscow, the straw that broke the camel’s back was when an Archbishop prevented people from gathering at a religious icon of the Virgin Mary of Bogolyubovo, his reasons were to help prevent further spread of the deadly plague.

As if London hadn’t seen enough, in 1854 cholera broke out near Broad Street. The cause of the spread was poor sanitation services, the city just couldn’t keep up with the people moving to the city. The physician John Snow discovered that it was being spread through contaminated water, proving that John Snow did in fact know something.

In 1918 the world was once again brought to its knees, influenza was on the march and it wouldn’t be stopped until over 50 million people had died. This was also known as the Spanish flu, as news of the deaths were not being reported except for those in Spain. This lead to an incorrect assumption that influenza was hitting the Spanish harder.

India saw one of the worst smallpox epidemics of the 20th century. In 1974 smallpox hit the Indian states Bihar, Orisssa, and West Bengal. This caused over 15,000 deaths and disfigured and blinded thousands more. Before this smallpox was considered a regular occurrence in India, but thanks to the World Health Organization’s help this is no longer considered normal.

2010-2013 saw cholera ravage Haiti, it’s so prevalent that since the outbreak over 6% of Haiti’s population has the disease. Less than a year before the outbreak Haiti experienced a massive earthquake which made the conditions just right for Cholera to began its death-march from the center of Haiti, it has killed over 8,000 Haitians and spread to their neighboring countries.

Remember the movie Outbreak? It was all about ebola and how bad it is for you. Well in 2014 West Africa went through their own Outbreak movie. As of June 2014 the virus has caused at least 549 infections and 269 deaths, the virus has found its way to three countries in West Africa – but with the help of several global organisations hopefully this outbreak will end soon.

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