The Sweating Sickness (2/5)

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The Sweating Sickness appeared in Britain during the Tudor and early Elizabethan eras, causing five devastating outbreaks in its lifespan. The disease, in Latin known as the “Sudor Anglicus,” or otherwise the “English Sweat,” was a contagious epidemic that killed many thousands of people during its time, including the famous Richard III, a controversial English king and the protagonist of one of William Shakespeare’s history plays. Symptoms were said to start with a cold phase, during which the victim would feel intense shivers, followed by an even more intense hot phase, including migraines, dizziness, and severe muscle pains. The sickness struck suddenly and without any warning, and killed quickly too – lasting about one day before either recovery or death. In some parishes, the death toll estimate for the sickness is recorded at around 50%. While the mysterious disease fails to hold a candle to the devastation wrought by the Black Death several centuries prior, it earns a place in this list for its unique and mysterious origins, as well as with the effectiveness with which the disease struck compared to other epidemic outbreaks of the time, confusing many of the historical community to this day – who have still not reached a consensus on what exactly it was!

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The Black Death (Bubonic Plague) (1/5)

The Year Without a Summer (3/5)