Plague is defined as a “destructive contagious bacterial disease” (Merriam–Webster). It spread just as fire captures anything dry near. The most well-know was the Black Death which swept through Asia and Europe in the medieval era. The plague did not discriminate the poor from the wealth, children from parents. Many feared that they will be no one to bury them as the deadly bacteria claimed its victims. It left several individuals wondering what caused the epidemic. The illness was named Black Death because of black spots it formed on the skin and the overwhelming feeling of darkness it brought. A dreadful predator was loose across Europe and medieval medicine had nothing to fight with.
According to the article Plague: The Black Death, the virus “presented itself in three interrelated forms.” Bubonic variant was the most common which left its victims with swellings that appeared on neck, armpits, or groin. Pneumonic plague was the more infectious and is a higher stage of bubonic pandemic. It attacked the respiratory system and was spread by breathing the exhaled air of the victim; was an air-borne pathogen. An individual had life expectancy of less than two days. The Pneumonic disease was spread through airborne droplets coughed or sneezed from the lungs (Plague: The Black Death). Another third form the Black Death showed itself was through Septicemic plague. This epidemic was spread through contact with the plague-infected body matter and threatened mainly the blood system (The Black Death, 1348).
The causes of the Black Death were not determined until the outbreak of 1885 which started in China. The first leap forward came in Hong Kong in 1894 when scientists “isolated the rod-shaped bacillus responsible –Yersinia pestis” (Plague: The Black Death). Doctors became aware of rats that showed similar plague symptoms to people and humans frequently had fleabites. In support of what was concluded in 1894, recent researchers have also concluded that, “the causative agent of the [bug] was the bacterium known as Yersinia pestis” (Wade). In addition, the plague is usually transmitted by the rat flea called Xenopsylla cheopis. The article Plague: The Black Death states that the bacterium is not able to survive outside the animals it infects; therefore, it needs strength in numbers and the capability to immobilize its victim’s immune system. Yersinia pestis injects toxins into white blood cells such as macrophages that sense bacterial infections. When these cells are destroyed, the germs multiply (Plague: The Black Death).
It is believed that the Black Death originated in China around early 1300s. China was one of the world’s trading nations; hence, it was going to take a short period before the plague was expanded to other parts of the globe (Wade). The Black Death reached Italy first through Sicily by Italian trade ships returning from a trip to the Black Sea, one of the main routes used in trade with China (The Black Death, 1348). Many...