This infographic summarizes the toll that the largest pandemics throughout history have taken on human life. Although many of these numbers are estimates and may be contested in varying degrees by different experts, the message that infectious diseases have the power to shape the human population is clear.
Topping off the list is the Black Death of 1346-1350, which claimed around 100 million lives across Eurasia and Africa. By comparison World War II, the deadliest conflict in human history, claimed approximately 55 million lives, not including deaths from war-related famine and disease.
Far from a thing of the past, however, new disease pandemics and epidemics continue to arise: HIV/AIDS and H1N1 in the past century, Ebola and Zika just in the last few years. Our ability to respond as a species depends upon continued support and funding for basic and applied biomedical research and disease monitoring.
(Source for infographic data)
Nick received his B.S. in Biology from the University of Notre Dame and currently studies the spread of drug-resistant malaria.