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The Black Plague Essay

1191 words - 5 pages


The plague was the most devastating pandemic in human history, killing around 80-200 million people mostly throughout Europe, leaving most people back then wondering how they and others got sick and died. “Evidence available from rural continental Europe suggests a slow spread of human mortality across trade and travel routes, patterns consistent” (Carmichael 3), until after multiple inventions such as printing, word spread of this murderer, preventing more deaths and to treat those affected. This disease is known throughout the world as the Black Death and still lingers to this day, corrupting individuals in areas of poverty who can’t find shelter from this relentless killer. Even with government surveillance and modern technology and medicine, to this day we can’t 100% cure those affected by the plague, but modern antibiotics make this disease less deadly.
This infectious fever is caused by the bacillus Yersinia Pestis, a bacterium transmitted to humans from rodents through the bite of infected fleas. Today, when someone gets infected it is usually because they were bit or exposed to rodents, such as squirrels, rabbits, prairie dogs or scratches or bites from infected domestic cats. When outbreaks occur, and the number of rodents decreases in number due to overpopulation of fleas, the fleas from dead rodents fail to find new hosts, so in order to survive they are forced to infest humans, thus carrying on the disease. The three most common forms of the plague are Bubonic, Pneumonic and Septicemic account for most of the deaths of those infected with the plague.
The Bubonic plague, which is derived from a Greek word meaning groin, is estimated to have killed around 25 million people or 30-60% of the European population and “was the disease behind the Black Death of the 14th century” (Britannica School 1). The bubonic plague is infamous for having symptoms around the groin and armpits, because these are where lymph glands derive, which become swollen and painful and are knows as buboes. The bacteria localized in the inflamed lymph node start to colonize and reproduce and often lead to gangrene in the toes, lips, nose and fingers. The Bubonic plague symptoms appear rapidly, usually 2-5 days after exposure to the bacteria. Earliest symptoms include, muscle cramp, high fever around 102 degrees Fahrenheit, seizures, smooth, painful lymph gland swelling, heavy breathing, vomiting of blood, coughing and aching limbs, which is usually caused by the decaying of the human skin while the infected are still alive.
The Pneumonic plague infects the respiratory system and is a severe type of lung infection that is more virulent and rare then the Bubonic plague. This plague can be transmitted like the other plagues, but unlike them, this plague can be also transmitted from person to person. Primarily this infection spreads from inhalation of fine infected droplets and is very fatal. This strand of the plague is the most infamous for creating pandemics...

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