The current pandemic brought upon by COVID 19 has drastically changed numerous aspects of how we live our life. Communities, businesses, and entire industries have shut down in order to control the outbreak.
Unfortunately, millions are still being affected and tens of thousands have already died due to the pandemic.
Truly, humanity is being tested during these trying times. However, we have survived numerous pandemics and epidemics and we have grown stronger because of that.
Certainly, we will survive the COVID 19 outbreak as well, but knowledge of the past and how we can control these diseases and even end them in the future is essential so that we can minimize how these illnesses affect our society.
Here, we will discuss some of the ongoing epidemics that are happening all over the world.
Definition of Terms
Different terms are being used, sometimes inaccurately, to describe the spread of disease in specific countries or worldwide. These terminologies are:
These terms are used to classify communicable diseases such as those that are airborne or are sexually transmitted.
Endemics are diseases that are constantly present in a particular location, while outbreaks are used to describe a disease that has infected a number of people that exceeds the expected number.
Outbreaks can occur even if a disease is not endemic to a location, particularly due to travel of an infected person to another area with the carrier becoming the primary source of the disease.
Epidemics, on the other hand, describe a large outbreak of a disease. This, however, is restricted or limited to a particular location or population. Pandemics, on the other hand, are
The classification of a disease can change from one to another, depending on the severity, speed, and spread of the infection.
While local governments can declare epidemics, usually it is the World Health Organization that declares that a disease has reached a pandemic level as they are the ones that are able to monitor disease spread at a global scale.
Ongoing Epidemics Around the World
Listed below are the list of epidemics that still exist in the world today. Whenever available, we have listed down the affected location, the number of infected, as well as number of deaths attributed to the condition.
This list does not include pandemics as classified by WHO such as COVID 19 or HIV.
A measles epidemic broke out in the Republic of Congo. Since April of this year, it has claimed the lives of over 6,400 people while over 300,000 people have been infected.
It is considered as the largest and most dangerous outbreak in the world for the year 2019.
Children are the most common victims of this disease, accounting for around a quarter of total infections and about 9 out of 10 deaths.
While vaccination programs have rolled out, the current COVID 19 pandemic has halted this, putting the people in danger of infection once again.
A different outbreak is also being suffered in the islands of Samoa. As of January 2020, over 3 percent of the population have been reportedly infected.
Death tolls currently stand at 83, but the numbers are still rising. Fortunately, swift action led to mass vaccinations, bringing the spread of the disease to a certain level of control.
Several epidemics of dengue fever have been reported in Asian countries which include Malaysia, Pakistan, Vietnam, and the Philippines, among others.
Some Latin American countries have also been experiencing similar epidemics, with over 2.5 million cases recorded since the beginning of the outbreak in 2019.
In Asia, the Philippines is the country that was most affected, with over 600 people dead and around 150,000 more that have been infected since August of 2019.
Congo and Uganda are currently both experiencing an epidemic caused by the Ebola virus. The outbreak started in Kivu, with the first recorded case happening in August of 2018.
In June 2019, the first reported case occurred in Uganda. Death tolls have reached over 2,500, with over 3,600 cases reported for the two countries combined.
Control of the disease has proven to be very difficult due to military conflict within the regions, along with attacks on health facilities as well as its workers.
Yemen is currently suffering from a cholera epidemic, with the first reported case dating as far back as 2016. More than 2,500 people have died and over 1.2 million people have been infected, with more than half of them children.
Due to poor sanitation and exacerbated by civil war, vaccinations and access to clean water is restricted, allowing the disease to run rampant in the region.
Other areas such as Haiti are also currently experiencing a cholera epidemic of their own, with 800,000 people infected and leaving 9,000 people dead.
Yemen stopped funding for public health programs, relying on international organizations such as UNICEF, Red Cross, and WHO to help minimize the spread of the disease.
Unfortunately, constant violence has not helped in making a significant dent to the problem.
Like COVID 19, MERS, also known as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, is caused by a coronavirus virus that transmitted from animals to humans.
The first document case of MERS infecting a human was on April 2012.
To date, it has killed over 500 people worldwide, a fatality rate of over 30%. Saudi Arabia was the country most affected by MERS. However, countries such as South Korea, the UAE, and other Middle Eastern countries have also been affected.
With the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic, along with other pandemics and epidemics going on in the world, it would seem as if humanity would be taken over by plague and disease.
However, we should always keep our hopes up as we have passed numerous pandemics that are worse than this.
Throughout history, we have risen up stronger even after the worst pandemics have come and gone. Through international cooperation and awareness, we can beat COVID 19 and these different diseases.
We have done this time and time again, and this current health crisis that we are experiencing will not be any different as this is a battle that we can surely win.