It is not so easy to name several conquered diseases at once. Many of those almost forgotten exist still exist: the plague, leprosy, typhus. At the same time, people often do not know about the complete or almost complete victory of a person over certain infections.
On average, three out of 10 cases died from smallpox. Survivors often had disfiguring scars on their skin, and blindness could develop. In the 18th century in Europe, the disease killed about 400,000 people a year. Smallpox was manifested by fever, weakness, headache, pain in the back and abdomen. On the 2-3rd day of illness, a rash appeared on the face and arms, which gradually passed to the trunk.
Smallpox proved to be an “ideal candidate” for eradication. Against the virus that caused it, there was an effective cheap vaccine that worked from the first dose. The symptoms of the disease were vivid, which made it possible to immediately isolate the infected. Sick people did not spread the disease until these symptoms appeared.
The smallpox eradication campaign began in 1968. The World Health Organization announced the complete disappearance of the disease in 1980.
This infection did not affect humans. We feel it necessary to mention it to emphasize that success in the fight against smallpox was not an accident, mass vaccination can irrevocably destroy diseases.
The causative agent of rinderpest was orthovirus, a “close relative” measles virus. The latest major outbreak in Africa in the 1980s resulted in $2 billion in losses.
A global program to eradicate the disease by vaccinating cattle began in 1994 and was declared eradicated in 2010.
Epidemics of encephalitis lethargica swept through Europe and North America from 1919 to 1926. Since then, the disease has not occurred. Scientists have not been able to identify its causative agent.
The disease was manifested by severe fever, double vision, headache, lethargy (lethargy, extreme fatigue), catatonia (immobility), wakefulness at night and sleep during the daytime. In severe cases, patients fell into a coma and died. 60% of the survivors developed parkinsonism.
Scientists have suggested that the cause of the disease could be the “Spanish flu” virus, a special strain that caused a severe pandemic that coincided with outbreaks of encephalitis.< /p>
English sweat is an uncommon disease that was prevalent in England and mainland Europe predominantly from the late 15th to the mid-16th century. The disease also occurred in Russia. Her outbreaks were not like other epidemics: the disease more often affected rural residents, the epidemics were not protracted.
The cause of the disease remains unknown, it is believed that it was caused by hantavirus. The disease began with severe chills, severe dizziness, pain in the neck and joints. After 1-3 hours, sweating, fever, clouding of consciousness, irresistible drowsiness joined the picture of the disease. Mortality was high.
After the 16th century, the disease was very rare. English sweat was not recorded in Western Europe after 1907. But there is an indication that in Russia an outbreak of the disease with similar symptoms was described in 1932.
Dr. Paul Beeson of the University of Washington suggested that English sweat and lethargic encephalitis disappeared due to the mutation of their pathogens – viruses could cease to be pathogenic.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) )
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (known as SARS) was caused by the SARS-CoV virus, which is very similar in many ways to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that has caused the current pandemic. It presented with flu-like symptoms (fever, sore throat, cough, etc.). Against its background, severe pneumonia with respiratory failure could develop. Approximately 1 in 10 infected people died.
This disease has not been declared a conquered or extinct disease. WHO reported that the epidemic of the disease had been suppressed in 2003. Scientists suggest that the virus is likely still circulating among animals. But, apparently, its transmission from person to person can be considered eliminated.
The fight against infections continues. Some of them can be said that they really are on the verge of extinction. For example, in recent years, no more than a few dozen cases of the parasitic disease of dracunculiasis have been diagnosed in the world. She was almost defeated by improved sanitation and access to clean water. Poliomyelitis, yaws and malaria are “next in line” for extermination from the WHO. Among the successes of Russia in the field of infection control, it is necessary to mention the elimination of rubella, the country received the corresponding WHO certificate.