Could These 7 Old Illnesses Make a Return?

The Plague

The Plague, often referred to as the Bubonic Plague or Black Death, is unanimously considered to be one of the most devastating pandemics human beings have ever seen. During the height of the Black Death’s reign of terror (1665-66), the disease killed roughly one-fifth of the entire population of London. And, unfortunately, it’s also back.

Again, to be fair, the plague never actually went anywhere. Though most of the developed world has been safe from the reach of the Plague, the developing world hasn’t been as lucky. The plague killed 71 Madagascar natives as recently as 2015, it forced a Chinese city of 30,000 residents in to a mandatory lockdown, and it has been far from invisible in the U.S., too.

Thankfully the medical profession has come a long way, and treatment for the plague is widely available. Still, it’s hard to rest easy knowing that something called The Black Plague exists in the world.

Viktor_LA / Shutterstock

Measles

You may think that The Plague is the most dangerous disease out there, but don’t sleep on measles. This viral respiratory infection is incredibly contagious and incredibly dangerous. Before the 1963 introduction of a measles vaccine, the disease caused as many as 2.6 million deaths each year. Today, it still ranks as one of the leading causes of death among young children, claiming over 89,000 lives in 2016 alone.

The frustrating thing about the re-emergence of the disease is that it’s entirely preventable. The measles vaccine is effective, available, and relatively inexpensive. And yet, here we are.

For those unfamiliar with the disease, measles symptoms include a total-body skin rash and flu-like symptoms.

phichet chaiyabin / Shutterstock

Mumps

Mumps shares many symptoms with the flu including headaches, fever, muscle aches, and exhaustion. The second phase of the viral disease is much more prominent, painful swelling of the salivary glands, which can last for as long as 10-days.

It’s an awful disease, which is why the MMR vaccine is administered to most of us at an early age. The thing is, vaccines are far from perfect and the seemingly endless outbreaks of mumps occurring all over the world is proof of that.

A recent study published in the Science Translational Medicine journal attributes the various international outbreaks to the waning effectiveness of the vaccine. It’s believed that a booster shot at the age of 18 could be the answer.

Tobias Arhelger / Shutterstock
2 of 3