The Black Death

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It is not so much the current Black Death cases that are a threat, but rather what the plague could be used as. Many people today believe that Black Death, also known as the bubonic plague, no longer exists, but they are misguided because the plague is actually still around. Thankfully it is not as large of a threat to Americans nowadays as used to be.  Currently in the U.S.A. there are only around 10 to 15 bubonic plague cases reported annually, which usually occur in rural parts of western America transferred by a flea from an infected rat. Globally there are around 1,00 to 3,000 bubonic cases annually. We now also have antibiotics which are an effective way to treat the plague, that sadly weren’t around when there were large outbreaks during the 1300-1600.

The larger issue arises when considering biological warfare. If someone finds a way to aerosolize Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that causes the plague, it could make a dangerous and powerful weapon. Luckily it appears to be very challenging to make Yersinia pestis into a weapon because it doesn’t have any spores which travel easily through the air to cause infection. However, with the right technology and  intelligent minds it is still possible to do. The creation and use of a weapon like this could lead to another large-scale outbreak with a high death toll. As for now the Black Death is still a problem but not as prominent as it used to be or may become.

Sources:

abcnews.go.com/Health/story

chnm.gmu.edu/cyh/primary-sources/159

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