Top 10 Global Epidemics of the Last 10 Years

In Top 10... by Paul Martin6 Comments

We’ve decided to start a series of top ten lists, and in this first one, we’re covering the last ten years of fads relating to diseases. We’ve decided to only go back about ten years, because there are some really interesting ones that have been spreading. Some of the items on the list might be older than that, but the fad had a repeat in popularity within the time frame allowed.

This list is by no means meant to be an insult to any victims of these diseases, viruses or other medical related situations. It’s meant more as a reminder of things that the public has feared or been led to believe (as will be seen in the #1 fad). This list is also my opinion, and does not reflect he opinions of ProCPR, and should not be viewed as such.

#10: Blaster – Not necessarily a human affecting virus, this is a computer worm that affected Windows computers. It caused a few side effects, and the guy that wrote it received a prison sentence. (Wikipedia)

#9: Melissa – This is another computer virus. Not written with the intent of causing harm, it overflowed servers and caused Microsoft, Intel and more to shut down their E-mail gateways. Melissa spread itself via e-mail generated by scanning your address books and compiling e-mails to send from those lists. (Wikipedia)

#8: ILOVEYOU – This virus was released in the Philippines on May 4, 2001, and over the course of the next twenty-four hours spread around the world and infected ten percent of the computers connected to the internet. This worm would duplicate itself over important files, and then spread itself through your contact list. (Wikipedia)

#7: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy – More commonly known as Mad Cow Disease, this is known to cause death amongt the cow populations, and has been pretty well spoofed time and again since it hit the news. Scientists, however, do not believe that there is much harm that it can actually do to humans, as the percentage of people being infected is very small, statistically. Order Mad Cow (Wikipedia)

#6: Avian Flu (H5N1) – Commonly called Bird Flu, this one is still a major threat to the world’s populations. As it spreads and mutates, it has become more potent, with a potential to wipe out populations. Vaccinations have been developed, and work is being done continuously to fight this pandemic. Some vaccinations are not currently available to the general public, at the time of this writing. (Wikipedia)

#5: West Nile Virus – This one is particularly frightening, as it can be transferred by something as small as a mosquito. There is currently no vaccine available, and it has spread throughout most of the continental United States. (Wikipedia)

#4: SARS – Severe acute respiratory syndrome is a respiratory disease that has killed nearly 10% of all those who have contracted the virus. It’s not known how quickly SARS is still spreading. Boston University is about to open up a new research facility that will contain Ebola, SARS and plague, angering neighbors to the facility. (Bloomberg) (Wikipedia)

#3: Global Warming – This is a trend that is causing people to go green. Our company is definitely a green company, saving you the trip to a training center for something you can now do from the comfort of your own home. Anyway, writer Michael Crichton’s book State of Fear has this to say:

… global warming is the theory that increased levels of carbon dioxide and certain other gases are causing an increase in the average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere because of the so-called – greenhouse effect.” (p. 81, italics in the original)

One article that I found about it, had this to say as well:

The second definition is correct. “Global warming” really is only a theory, not a fact, and the words Crichton chose to italicize are all key terms in the scientific debate over whether the theory is correct or not.

That’s not to say that going green is a bad thing, and that the WWF is incorrect. Everything that we’re finally doing as a country is wonderful. And there’s more that must be done, like electric cars and regulation of polution world-wide. However, it is something that should be worked on, not because it could be the cause of “Global warming,” rather because it is the right thing to do. (Michael Crichton is Right!)

#2: Human papillomavirus – This is one fad that has me fed up. The simple fact that people didn’t generally know about HPV until a vaccination was slightly ready is cause for more concern. Just a few years ago, if you asked someone, anyone, what the number one STD in the world is, you’d get a multitude of answers. The one you were least likely to hear, though, is HPV. A few years ago, statistics told us that 65% of sexually active people had some form of HPV. That statistic has not gone down since then. It’s gone up. And it is not possible to stop it with a condom, regardless of what some “experts” claim. They even said this, regarding the inability of condoms to do what the labels claimed they could:

[…] we don’t want to “create an epidemic of panic, fear, and anxiety in adolescents and young adults who are embarking on their sexual careers.”[1] One leader in the sex ed movement tried to put an optimistic spin on the issue by saying, “I don’t think we, in any way, want to do anything that will frighten people from using condoms. . . . The bottom-line message always needs to be that most STDs are treatable.”[2]

And all of this is not to mention the death resulting from the treatment of Gardasil. (Gardasil HPV Vaccine kills at least 8 women) (What is HPV?)

#1: Y2K – Also known as the Millennium Bug, and a multitude of other names. This is the problem that faced computers, because those working on them had expected us to change what they didn’t want to prepare for in the 1960s. What might have cost them only some time to program the computers for more than the two digits at the end of the year part of a date, wound up costing a grand total of about 300,000,000 US dollars. That’s not to mention the fears that went along with this bug. Prisoners would be let out early (sure, because the police officers wouldn’t notice something was wrong), Hospitals would discharge patients early (again, because doctors and nurses can’t read computer screens correctly, right?), and many more problems would occur, all because the computer “thinks it’s 100 years ago.” Everything was supposedly going back to 1900. Well, some things did happen, but nothing as large a scale as was feared. The lights stayed on, the prisons were secure and the hospitals didn’t force patients to leave.

Honorable Mention: Morgellons – This is a disease that was named in 2002. It may or may not be real. One sociologist believes that this disease has been spread via the internet, as people have discovered others with common symptoms. However, research has not been conclusive, as of this time, on this disease. However, according to the research foundation’s website:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in conjunction with Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California Division of Research held a national media telebriefing on January 16, 2008 announcing government efforts to investigate the cause of this illness.

This disease was, unfortunately, a late addition to this blog post, and that is why I was originally not very detailed. If you would like more information about Morgellons, you can find it at the OSU Center for Health Sciences website. Below is what that one sociologist said about Morgellons:

Robert Bartholomew, a sociologist who has studied the Morgellons phenomenon, states that the “World Wide Web has become the incubator for mass delusion and it (Morgellons) seems to be a socially transmitted disease over the Internet.” According to this hypothesis, patients with delusions of parasitosis and other psychological disorders become convinced they have “Morgellons” after reading internet accounts of others with similar symptoms. (Wikipedia)

Well, there you have it. The top 10 global epidemics of the last 10 years. We’re going to have more soon, with at least one every week or so. Any ideas for future top 10 lists? Feel free to comment below!

[1]. Audio Transcript, “Scientific Evidence on Condom Effectiveness and STD Prevention,” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (12-13 June 2000).
[2]. Tamara Kerinin, as quoted by Cheryl Wetzstein, “Agencies Rapped for Shirking HPV Law,” The Washington Times (23 December 2003).

Paul Martin

Paul Martin

I am the Director of Multimedia at ProTrainings, as well as the primary blogger here. I take care of the video editing, graphic design and corporate branding that you see on every video and every page on this site, as well as at ProCPR®, ProFirstAid®, ProBloodborne, StudentCPR, etc. My work is literally everywhere that ProTrainings goes. I also handle our Twitter accounts, so be sure to follow us there, if you use twitter! You can be sure that I’m not just an average joe writing this blog, but one of the founders of the company.

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  1. M. Laskowsky

    Dear Paul, your “Honorable Mention: Morgellons” is completely UNHONORABLE on your part, as you pesent only an opion of the most negative and synical view. It is clearly and obviouly a sudo presentation of your opinon rather than fact. Thanks, but no-thanks (maybe you can do better next time).

  2. Paul Martin Author

    My apologies. I have amended the post, and I hope that the update is satisfactory. As I state in that category, it was an addition that I made late in the game, and did not have time to do the research needed to learn more about the disease. I mentioned it because it is a recent disease, and because I found it interesting that there was such a split in beliefs about the disease.

  3. Greg Vigil

    Hi Paul,
    Here are a few of the Best of the Best of the News relating to Morgellons. I know that it’s hard to keep up with everything, and I know you’re busy. I hope that these links show up Ok…

    First an Article: Fiber Study and Research
    April 16, 2008

    Here’s another Real News Segment. Jan or Feb, 2008

    Thanks Paul,
    Greg Vigil

  4. Greg Vigil

    Correction on the above post. It was a copy and paste, and not to mean that Tom Dill’s death was one of the best news pieces, but rather the “News Piece” was one of the best that I’ve seen around.
    Thanks again Paul,
    Greg Vigil

  5. E. Rasmussen

    Dear Paul,

    M. Laskowsky asked me to forward the following message to you as his email is down:

    To Paul Martin at >

    Dear Paul,

    Thank you so much for your response re: Morgellons Disease. I appreciate the opportunity to educate others about this badly misunderstood disease and do very much appreciate your responsiveness to your readers.

    Some developments relating to Morgellons that people need to know include:

    The CDC removed it’s website on Delusional Parasitosis in March of 2007

    Senator Tom Harkin’s budget request for Health and Human Services for the 2008 health care budget, published in June 2007 specifically named Morgellons for study by the CDC.

    The CDC posted a website for “unexplained dermopathy AKA Morgellons” under the Zoonotic, Vector-borne and Enteric Diseases Division.

    The CDC described Morgellons as follows:
    “Morgellons is an unexplained and debilitating condition that has emerged as a public health concern. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has received an increased number of inquiries from the public, health care providers, public health officials, Congress, and the media regarding this condition. Persons who suffer from this condition report a range of coetaneous symptoms including crawling, biting and stinging sensations; granules, threads or black speck-like materials on or beneath the skin; and/or skin lesions (e.g., rashes or sores) and some sufferers also report systemic manifestations such as fatigue, mental confusion, short term memory loss, joint pain, and changes in vision. Moreover, some who suffer from this condition appear to have substantial morbidity and social dysfunction, which can include decreased work productivity or job loss, total disability, familial estrangement, divorce, loss of child custody, home abandonment, and suicidal ideation.”
    source: Centers for Disease Control, July 16, 2007 FBO DAILY ISSUE OF JULY 16, 2007 FBO #2058 SOLICITATION NOTICE

    The CDC announced in January, 2008 that it would jointly investigate Morgellons with Kaiser Permanente of Northern California with assistance from the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology beginning immediately.

    The National Institutes of Health is now beginning to accept a few patients with Morgellons for diagnosis and treatment according to the Morgellons Research Foundation (MRF).

    Several universities have been studying aspects of the disease including the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences and State University of New York at Stony Brook. Funding is desperately needed to continue the studies, so if you want to do something useful to help people suffering from a terrible progressive multi-systemic disease, you could ask people to donate funds to the following: The Charles E. Holman Foundation (, the MRF at, or The Morgellons Research Project at SUNY Stony Brook under the direction of Mark Darrah, or Dr. Randy Wymore’s research at

    None of the above consider this a delusional disease at this time, or spread by the internet, although most formerly did before they saw the physical evidence of the disease for themselves. Additionally, dogs, cats and horses have been reported to be affected by this disease. They usually are not delusional and don’t do much internet surfing.

    If you want to see what kind of suffering people with this disease experience, check out the video clip of Morgellons from the ABC Primetime Medical Mysteries from August 9, 2006.

    Thank you very much for asking for suggestions for improving your post. I really appreciate it.


    M. Laskowsky

  6. Pingback: ProCPR Blog » Blog Archive » Researchers Question If HPV Vaccine Is Worth the Risk

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