Top 5 Ancient Diseases That No Longer Exist

Iris | 01 - 26 - 2021

Throughout our human history, we have survived lots of infectious diseases, viruses, and parasites. But do you know? There are many prehistoric diseases and the oldest virus still exists. And many ancient diseases that no longer exist – rinderpest, yaws. Read on to discover the top 5 oldest known diseases which have a great impact on history. 


Smallpox is one of history’s greatest killers which is responsible for more than 300 million deaths in the 20th century. It was a devastating disease on average it killed nearly 3 out of 10 people in the world. Those who survived were also left with some scars. The vaccination for smallpox was found by an English doctor named Edward Jenner in the year 1796. The first experiment was held on Sarah Nelmes and James Phipps. And Phipps never developed smallpox after the vaccination. And the smallpox eradication program was also held in the year 1859. The last case of smallpox was observed in 1975 from Bangladesh.

When Was the Last Known Case of Smallpox?
  • A. 1977
  • B. 1978
  • C. 1979
  • D. 1980


The Rinderpest is a German word meaning “Cattle Plague” which primarily affected cattle and buffalo. This Rinderpest virus is more or less related to the measles and canine distemper virus. The symptom of this disease includes fever, wounds in the mouth, diarrhea, discharge from nose and eyes and eventually it also causes death. Even though rinderpest did not affect humans it created an unfriendly environment and affected their day-to-day lives. The potent vaccine was developed in the year 1960, which played an important role in achieving the eradication of rinderpest disease in the year 2011. 

Poliomyelitis (Polio)

Polio is one of the few diseases that frightened every parent. It occurs during the summer months and leaves a great impact every year. Even Though many people recovered from polio, there are many people who have suffered from temporary and permanent paralysis attacks, and some even faced death. Polio spreads through the contact between people either by nasal or oral secretions which enter the digestive tract of the body through the mouth where it multiplies on its way which creates an impact on several cases with a paralytic attack. This wild polio has been eradicated in all the countries except Asia. And still, it is considered endemic in Pakistan and Afghanistan. 


Yaws is considered a chronic infection that mainly occurs in children and adults which affects skin, bone, and cartilage. This disease is widely seen in the community where the climate is warm and humid especially in the tropical areas of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Nearly 75% of the children are the main victims who are under the age of 15. This disease is transmitted mainly through direct skin contact with a victim. Even Though this disease is fatal, still, it can lead to chronic disfigurement and disability. And it can be treated with an antibiotic like benzathine penicillin injection.  


Malaria is one of the life-threatening diseases caused by parasites that get transmitted through infected mosquito bites. Approximately, nearly 210 million people were infected with malaria, and about 4,44,000 people died due to this disease. This disease is widely seen among children in Africa. This disease is generally characterized by symptoms like fever, headache, nausea, and vomiting. Scientists around the world were trying to develop a vaccine for malaria as there is no proper vaccine for malaria till now. 

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