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Arch Hellen Med, 38(4), July-August 2021, 448-458


From the Athenian plague to Covid-19:
A historical review of epidemics and their impact on mental health

D. Kavvadas,1 Ν. Stoila,1 Ε. Tsopanoglou,1 T. Papamitsou,1 Α. Kavvada,2 Α. Sioga1
1Laboratory of Histology and Embryology, School of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki,
2International Hellenic University, Biomedical Science, Sindos, Thessaloniki, Greece

Over the centuries, the human species has been tested by many epidemics and pandemics. In addition to the catastrophic pandemics, there have been epidemics localized in specific regions, without further spread. History shows that the public health consequences have several times reached alarming levels of danger to humans. Incurable, acute infectious diseases, which have been responsible for all pandemic recordings to date, can now occur almost simultaneously around the world, spreading at an exceedingly rapid rate. One such infectious disease, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, has monopolized the interest of the global community for the last 10 months. This virus has been the cause of a global pandemic since March 2020, and is clearly a major international public health problem. Because of its fast transmission, countries around the world should increase their focus on disease monitoring systems and expand their preparedness and response, by setting up rapid response teams and improving the capacity of their national health system. In the absence of a vaccine and effective medical treatment, the virus is exerting unprecedented global pressure on public health and health care systems. Protective measures against SARS-CoV-2 are of particular importance to the health care professionals who come into direct contact with patients with Covid-19, and to outpatients and hospitalized patients without infection. This situation could have serious consequences for the mental health of both patients and health professionals. The psychological pressure exerted on both groups is unprecedented and may lead to a variety of long-term problems.

Key words: Coronavirus, Epidemics, Health personnel, Mental health, Pandemics, Patients.

© Archives of Hellenic Medicine