The Antonine plague affected soldiers on the way back from campaigns in the near east. The actual disease was unknown but it is believed that the disease was either smallpox or measles. The plague killed about 5 million people, as much as one-third of the people in some areas, and devastated the Roman army. The plague started about the winter of to 165-166.
The Romans believed that the diseases that struck them had natural causes. They also figured that bad water and sewage could cause some of the diseases. Roman medicines included many plants including Aloe, Gentian, Fennel, and Rhubarb.They had surgical scissors, scalpels, bone drills, cupping vessels for bloodletting, bone levers and many other tools.Rome created some of the first hospitals to care mostly for the wounded.