Some will same never in my lifetime has there ever been a virus or disease outbreak like COVID-19. However, the truth is there have been roughly 13 major disease, virus outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics here in the United States.

We are literally surrounded by bacteria and viruses because they don't die out; we just become immune to them. Until our current battle with the seventh coronavirus in modern times, vaccines and vaccinations is why most of us never knew the horror of contracting diseases that have wiped out entire populations in the past. One day, hopefully soon, a vaccine for COVID-19 will help to eradicate the virus and once again grant civilization immunity from a killer disease.

Some of the worst pandemics and epidemics were caused by smallpox, cholera, bubonic plague, yellow fever and several deadly strains of the flu. Experts say smallpox has been around for at least thousands of years. It arrived on the shores of America with European immigrants in 1633 and throughout its deadly history has wiped out between 300 to 500 million people worldwide.

Via mphonline.org and healthline.com, below is a look at The Worst Epidemics And Pandemics In U.S. History:

The coronavirus is sure to make the list once all is said and done. For now, a disease that's still killing millions is tuberculosis otherwise known as "consumption." Some scientists estimate it's been around for close to three million years. Caused by a species of pathogenic bacteria, mycobacterium tuberculosis, it has wiped out one in seven of all people who had it. Though it is less contagious today, it is still very deadly. In 2018, it killed 1.5 million people.

Tuberculosis is the deadliest disease on the planet. TB is spread by person-to-person contact through cough, spit, speech, or sneezing releasing small droplets into the air that are inhaled by people nearby. Most of today's TB active infections occur in people with HIV/AIDS and smokers.

Small Pox - Getty Images

1.) ANTONINE PLAGUE - (165 AD)
Death Toll: 5 million
Cause: Believed to be Smallpox or Measles
Decimating the Roman army who unknowingly spread the disease through person-to-person contact coughing, vomiting, and sneezing releasing small droplets into the air that were inhaled by people nearby.

2.) PLAGUE OF JUSTINIAN - (541-542)
Death Toll: 25 million (5,000 per day)
Cause: Bubonic Plague
The reign of terror lasted a year and killed a quarter of the population. Spread between rodents and fleas. Transmission to humans through flea bites. Human-to-human spread occurred from coughing, vomiting, and sneezing releasing small droplets into the air that were inhaled by people nearby.

3.) THE BLACK DEATH - (1346-1353)
Death Toll: 75 – 200 million
Cause: Bubonic Plague
Back with a vengeance, it and ravaged Europe, Africa, and Asia. Spread by fleas living on the rats that caught a ride from dock to dock aboard merchant ships. Transmission to humans through flea bites. Human-to-human spread occurred from coughing, vomiting, and sneezing releasing small droplets into the air that were inhaled by people nearby.

4.) SMALLPOX EPIDEMIC - (1633-1634)
Death Toll: 300 to 500 million
Causes: The Variola Virus
Covering its victims head to toe with painful/itchy blisters filled with puss. and is spread from person to person when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes small droplets into the air.

5.) YELLOW FEVER - 1793
Death Toll: 60,000+
Causes - Flavivirus - Transmitted by mosquitoes

7. ) THIRD CHOLERA PANDEMIC - (1852–1860)
Death Toll: 1 million+
Cause: Cholera - A bacterial disease causing severe diarrhea/dehydration and fatal if not treated immediately. Transmitted by contaminated water.

8.) THE FLU PANDEMIC - (1889 - 1890)
Death Toll: 1 million+
Cause: Influenza
The strain, known as the Influenza A virus subtype H3N8, carried other names like “Asiatic Flu” or “Russian Flu.” Extremely deadly and far reaching. Spread through human-to-human contact from coughing, vomiting, and sneezing releasing small droplets into the air that were inhaled by people nearby.

9.) Typhoid Mary - (1900-1907) (1910 - 1915)
Death Toll: 50 or more
Cause: Salmonella Typhi Bacteria, food and water contamination
Typhoid Mary got its name from an actual person, Mary Mallon, an Irish cook in New York. She was an asymptomatic carrier of the Typhoid Flu (not common in the U.S.) and infected people everyone she cooked for. Spread by face-to-face contact, coughing, vomiting, and sneezing releasing small droplets into the air that were inhaled by people nearby.

10.) FLU PANDEMIC/SPANISH FLU - (1918)
Death Toll: 20 -50 million (500 infected)
Cause: Influenza/H1N1 Virus
In two years, the deadly outbreak infected over one-third of the world’s population. It took out 25 million people its first 25 weeks. The 1918 flu was different from other influenza outbreaks because it claimed the lives of healthy young adults, while children and the elderly only got sick. Spread by face-to-face contact, coughing, vomiting, and sneezing releasing small droplets into the air that were inhaled by people nearby.

11.) ASIAN FLU - (1956-1958)
Death Toll: 2 million
Cause: Influenza/ H2N2 Virus
In the course of its two-year spree, Asian Flu traveled from China, Singapore, Hong Kong before reaching the United States. Spread by face-to-face contact, coughing, vomiting, and sneezing releasing small droplets into the air that were inhaled by people nearby.

12.) FLU PANDEMIC - (1968)
Death Toll: 1 million+
Cause: Influenza/ H3N2 Virus
In three months, it spread to six continents, including the U.S., resulting in more than a million deaths. In Hong Kong alone, it took out 500,000 people, which was 15% of its population at the time. Spread by face-to-face contact, coughing, vomiting, and sneezing releasing small droplets into the air that were inhaled by people nearby.

13.) HIV/AIDS PANDEMIC - 1970 - Present (PEAK, 2005-2012)
Death Toll: 36 million
Cause: HIV/AIDS
Millions of people are living with HIV today. New treatments have made HIV manageable for many to lead productive lives, dropping deaths from 2.2 million to 1.6 million. Spread through unprotected vaginal/anal/oral sex, pregnancy, used/non-sterile needles or blood.

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