For Halloween Horror Nights 4, the streets of New York at Universal Studios Singapore has turned into a scene from the Apocalypse because of The Minister of Evil’s rule.
In some “end of days” movies, humanity has come close to extinction by various forms of virus outbreaks. With the recent Ebola epidemic, we take a look at past diseases to see how close we were to terminal departure.
Spanish Flu (1918 – 1920)
This extremely contagious H1N1 flu infected 500 million people around the world and killed 50 – 100 million of them during 1918 – 1920. This pandemic has been described as “the greatest medical holocaust in history”.
Compared to the 2009 strain of H1N1, the 1918 version was a total nightmare.
While victims of both flu share similar symptoms of severe vomiting, difficulty breathing and high fever, illness came on quickly for the Spanish Flu, with some people feeling fine in the morning and dying by nightfall. The patients would cough with such force that some even tore their abdominal muscles, with foamy blood exiting from their mouths and noses.
Black Death (1346 – 1350)
Also known as “The Black Plague”, it unleashed a rampage of death across Europe. Spread by fleas infected by the bacillus Yersina pestis found in rats, by the time the epidemic played itself out three years later, 75 million lost their lives.
It caused painful swelling on the lymph nodes which would turn from red into a dark purple or black colour that oozed pus and blood. Other symptoms included a high fever, delirium, bleeding in the lungs, and vomiting, with death virtually assured in days.
Smallpox, caused by the variola virus, killed an estimated 60 million Europeans, including five reigning European monarchs, in the 18th century alone. Of the survivors, a third became blind.
The disease caused fevers, body aches and a rash that turns from fluid-filled bumps and scabs into permanent, deep scars.
You’ll be glad to know that this is the only human disease to have been eradicated by vaccination – only a few samples are kept in labs for emergency research purposes.