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Black Plague Summaries
Transcript of Black Plague Summaries
There are three main ways the disease is transmitted:
1. Bites- Infected fleas bite humans
2. Direct Contact- Humans come into contact with bodily fluids or tissue
3. Inhalation- People cough droplets of the disease and uninfected people can inhale the droplets in the air.
Enzootic cycle- plague infects animals but uses them to culture the disease and doesn't kill them off
Epizootic- outbreak that infects multiple animal species
There are three types of the plague and each have different symptoms:
Bubonic- Major symptoms are the lymph nodes in armpit, groin, or neck swell to a large size. These swollen lymph nodes are commonly called buboes. Other symptoms are headache, fever/chills, fatigue, and aching.
Septicemic- Major symptoms are blackening and death of tissue in your fingers, toes, nose, etc. and bleeding from mouth, nose, rectum, or under the skin. Other symptoms are diarrhea/vomiting, abdominal pain, shock, and fever/chills.
Pneumonic- Major symptom is coughing blood because the lungs are filled with the bacteria. Other symptoms are difficulty breathing, high fever, nausea/vomiting, or weakness.
Nostradamus- famous for being a seer; he was also the most important Plague Doctor and gave great advice. Examples are sleeping in clean beds and boiling drinking water.
Yersin and Shibasaburo- both famous physicians who almost simultaneously found out the bacteria of origin for the plague. It was named Yersinia pestis in honor of Yersin (sorry Shibasaburo).
Robert Koch- the father of modern bacteriology; he made many advancements in medicine and curing bacteria. His contribution to the plague is that he figured out that rats and fleas were behind the major diffusion of the plague.
The Plague Today
Incubation Period/Victim Time Effect
Even though the plague was feared hundreds of years ago, it's still a threat today.
About 2,000 cases of the plague are recorded each year and it is believed there are about 10,000 actual infections a year.
The Plague can still be easily attained if people are not careful. The main reason it isn't as much as a threat now is because of general hygiene.
Things like washing hands, sewers, hospitalization, and antibiotics make seemingly dangerous things as the plague manageable.
Globally, the current mortality rate of the plague is 8%-10%. This number technically cannot be confirmed because of the lack of records in LDC's. The number is believed to be much higher.
The incubation period/victim time effect is 2-6 days after initial infection. This long time period makes it easy to spread the disease before people even know they have it.
In medieval times, there were many methods of trying to cure people. Most didn't work. A few examples are lancing the buboes, bleeding, diet, sanitation, various pestilence medicines, and even witchcraft.
Today our daily hygiene, sewer system, antibiotics, and hospitals keep the plague from spreading. There is currently not a vaccine for the plague, but common antibiotics can treat it easily.
The Black Plague started in China and Central Asia. It spread to India, Persia, Middle East, the Caucasus, and North Africa.
Sicilian traders who sailed the Black Sea came back to Italy in 1347 with the plague. This made Italy the starting point for the oncoming pandemic.
From Italy, it spread to France, Spain, Portugal, England, Germany, Russia, and Scandinavia.
The plague reached the US in the 1900's.
Today, most plague cases are located in Africa and Asia.
The Black Plague first arrived in Europe by sea in October 1347 when 12 Genoese trading ships docked at the Sicilian port of Messina after a voyage through the Black Sea. People at the dock found that many of the sailors on the ships were dead and those who were still alive were gravely ill.
In the next 5 years The Black Death killed over 20 million people in Europe, nearly one third of the continent's population.
Because they did not know the biology of the disease many thought the plague was some sort of divine punishment. It was believed as retribution for sins against god such as greed, blasphemy, heresy, fornication and worldliness. They thought the only way to overcome the disease was to win god's forgiveness.
The Black Plague had run its course by the 1350's but reappeared every generation for centuries.
Yersinia Pestis is the bactillus responsible for the plague.
It is theorized that Yersinia Pestis emerged from animal hosts in Ethiopia and migrated to Asia. It was fermented and grown in the Gobi Desert.
There are three types of the Black Plague: bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonic. Scientists believe the bubonic version was the major plague of medieval times.
If the victim has no treatment, then the plague will usually evolve from bubonic to septicemic or pneumonic. Septicemic or pneumonic can be extremely deadly.