The black plague first appeared in Europe during the mid 14th century. It was transmitted through the fleas that were on rats aboard merchant ships. Once the rats died, the fleas would latch onto human clothing and bite them in the genital areas, thighs, and neck.
The symptoms for the plague mostly coincide with that of the common cold-fever, headache, chills, weakness, and swollen tender lymph glands or buboes. Those usually infected by the fleas end up living for another week to ten days before dying. Unfortunately, those who have been infected don’t know it until its too late to save them. It took about 23 days for the first humans to die from the disease according to an article in HistoryToday.
There have been new studies done on the plague saying that black rats were not the main spreader of the plague. A new study came out saying that the gerbil was the most likely cause for the spread of the plague. According to the new study, the climate in Asia, where a good chunk of the victims were, had the perfect conditions for the gerbils, they then hitched a ride on merchant carts to Europe to spread the chaos.
Unfortunately, the black still exists to this day. The number of cases in the USA range from from a few to about a few dozen cases every year. Most of the cases seem to happen in the states of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. The reason for this is due to their warm and dry climate. They are also known for rodents that dig burrows. In the global theater, the countries that were hit the most are Africa, South America, Asia, Madagascar, Peru, and India according to CNN.
If the disease progresses far enough, it can lead to three different ways that it can attack the body. The first way is by infecting the lymph nodes. The second way is the bacteria infects the bloodstream. The final way is the bacteria infects the lungs directly.
How does this affect us Minnesotans you may ask, not in a very big way. There have been no confirmed cases of the plague in Minnesota. This is mostly contributed to the long cold moist winters, but you should always make sure to check yourself for any fleas. Also, if you are thinking of getting a gerbil as a pet, make sure that they do not have any fleas on them or you could be the plague’s next victim.