The 4 Biggest Killers in Human History (That You Probably Never Thought Of)

    May 30, 2012 at 6:30 am

    Yes, there are things you never knew killed millions of people, unless you are both extremely morbid and extremely studious. Thanks to the teachings of history, we are quite familiar with some of the biggest death blows to the human race. Some of the greatest and most well-known pandemics include The Black Plague, heart disease, and listening to country music while driving drunk. But, some of the most devastating killers throughout human history are due to lesser-known reasons, reasons like:

    1. Mosquitos

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    Mosquitos are one of the fortunate creatures that evolution has graced with an enormous straw growing out of its snout. We ponder this every time we have to stand forever at the back of a line to get a drink at the bar. However, that’s where mosquitos’ evolutionary usefulness stops, in our opinion.

    Mosquitos exist in almost every country on Earth. They even exist in deep space, as evidenced by this weird ass alien mosquito movie.

    They make a more annoying sound than a Real Housewife, and they suck almost as much blood.

    They are also the leading killers of humans of all time. Some estimates place mosquitos as responsible for half of all human deaths in history. They are nature’s disease airmail service that nobody wants. Some of the diseases they spread include: Malaria, West Nile Virus, Yellow Fever, and general scratchiness. The mosquito situation is particularly horrific in Africa, where citizens are bitten by dozens of disease-carrying mosquitos every day. Add in the fact that the mosquito can quickly develop evolutionary resistances to man-made pesticides, and it’s easy to see why humankind must put aside their differences and attack this common enemy.

    2. Spanish Flu of 1918

    Although the Black Death is frequently seen as the all time pandemic champion, we would award the crown to the Spanish Flu. While the Black Plague killed between 75 and 200 million in the 14th Century, the Spanish Flu killed between 50 and 130 million in one year. More than one-in-four people were infected. Keep in mind that the Spanish Flu occurred less than a century ago in the times of soap and scientific enlightenment, whereas the Black Plague took place in a time when people thought paying extra taxes and acting like a tree might ward off infection.

    Unlike most pandemics, the Spanish Flu was known for taking the lives of the young and healthy. Over half of the deaths were from people between 20 and 40 years of age. Like World War I wasn’t doing enough of that, already.

    3. African Sleeping Sickness

    African Sleeping Sickness has been pushing humans to evolve for tens of thousands of years, in the same sense that a serial stabber pushes humans to evolve knife-resistant skin. The tsetse fly carries this stubborn parasite to humans. Killing between 10,000-50,000 every year, there are occasional epidemics every few decades. In 1901, an epidemic took the lives of 250,000 people in Uganda. Recent analysis of the parasite indicate it has 800 genes that work together to evade detection by immune systems.

    The term “sleeping sickness” seems to imply that sufferers get some sort of relief in the form of slumber. In fact, this is not true, the “sleeping sickness” refers to the late-stage symptoms of daytime sleep cycles followed by nighttime insomnia. So sufferers get to stay up all night with their fever, joint pains, swollen lymph nodes, delirium, and just general icky-ness. We hate you, tsetse fly, and stronly suspect you are part of some secret anti-human coalition with the mosquito, because you are both jerks.

    4. Diarrhea

    The humor of choice for children of developed nations is also a top killer of kids in third-world countries. In fact, diarrhea kills 1.5 million children each year. By many estimates it kills twice as many people annually as A.I.D.S.

    The science behind the mortality of Diarrhea is simple: Your intestines lose their ability to retain water. It exits you in rapid fashion, you dehydrate. When we say “you” we of course mean the “royal you” meaning “people like you who drink way too much.” So, the next time some kid has an accident at school, maybe his classmates won’t be cruel to them. Maybe they will give them fluids and zinc tablets, rather than bestow upon them some horrible nickname, like “chocolate waterfall.” We hated that nickname.

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