As declining energy leads to lower farm yields, malnutrition and starvation will make people far more vulnerable to diseases.  A lack of anti-biotics, and little transportation to get to medical facilities at some point down the oil depletion curve is an especially deadly combination.  But even if energy were plentiful and cheap, we’d be in trouble, as Laurie Garrett explains in her book “Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health”.

Ill prepared for a pandemic. 6 march 2014. Klaus Stohr. Nature. Vol 507, p 820.

Over the last 500 years, there have been, on average, 3 severe influenza pandemics in each century. The most recent pandemic was declared in 2009. Yet despite much investment in public health and many improvements in vaccine production techniques and know-how, the availability of influenza vaccines during this event was far from adequate: 6 months into the pandemic, 534 million doses were available, and after 1 year that number had risen to 1.3 billion — enough for only 8% and 25%, respectively, of the world population. We were lucky that the pandemic declared in 2009 turned out later to be mild and that just 1 hsoutof vaccine was sufficient to protect most peope. This is not usually the case during a severe influenza pandemic.

Here is wikipedia’s definition of pandemic:  an epidemic of infectious disease that has spread through human populations across a large region or even worldwide. Throughout history there have been a number of pandemics, such as smallpox and tuberculosis. More recent pandemics include the HIV pandemic and the H1N1 pandemics of 1918 and 2009.

The list of pandemics and death tolls in history are in wiki’s List of Pandemics.  Here are the ones where over a million people died:

  •   5,000,000     Roman Empire     165–180     Antonine Plague     smallpox
  •  25,000,000     Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire     541–542     Plague of Justinian     bubonic plague
  • 100,000,000     Europe, Asia     1338–1351     Black Death     bubonic plague
  •    1,000,000     Russia     1852–1860     third cholera pandemic     cholera
  •    1,000,000     worldwide     1889–1890     1889–1890 flu pandemic     influenza
  •  75,000,000     worldwide     1918–1920     1918 flu pandemic     influenza
  •    2,000,000     worldwide     1957–1958     Asian flu     influenza
  •    1,000,000     worldwide     1968–1969     Hong Kong flu     influenza

Notable pandemics and epidemics

  • HIV and AIDS
  • Cholera
  • Influenza
  • Typhus
  • Smallpox
  • Measles
  • Tuberculosis
  • Leprosy
  • Malaria
  • Yellow fever

Possible future pandemics:

The world health organization also lists these:

  • Hendra virus infection
  • Leptospirosis
  • Meningitis
  • Nipah virus infection
  • Rift Valey fever
  • tularaemia
  • Viral hepatitis

This is the History Channel’s depiction of the SHingTF during a global pandemic. It makes you think about our future should be loose 2/3’s of the worlds population while watching a family survive wave after wave of attacks by thieves and destitute marauders.

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