The Black Plague: Past and Present

The Black Plague seems to be a distant disease, an outbreak of the past that fails to affect America, let alone our insignificant state of Minnesota. An eyewitness of 1348, Marchionne di Coppo di Stefano Buonaiuti, wrote all of what he saw and that took place in the city of Florence in great detail. The plague took the lives of a totaling ninety-six thousand just in his city with deaths as miserable as they were hopeless. Marchionne recalls the family members of the sick leaving so that they might be free from contracting the awful disease. The patient left alone to die had the rare chance of fetching a doctor as well, for the doctors were either dying, or they charged costly fees just to come diagnose something that they were unsure of how to treat. Unknown to many, the plague is still alive and very real to people in our country. CNN reporter Debra Goldschmidt covered a story of a teenage girl who fell ill to the Bubonic plague in the state of Oregon. After contracting it from a flea, she was rushed to the hospital; as of October 30th, 2015, she was recovering in the ICU. From past to present, the plague has failed to change it’s symptoms, yet researchers have accomplished finding the origin and a treatment for it. If the girl mentioned had lived back during the epidemic’s height, she would have likely died. Now, if caught in it’s earlier stages, they are able to treat the patient accordingly. Both of these sources have raised the question of how prevalent the plague really is in this day and age? According to the CNN report, there had been sixteen cases of the plague in the United States in the year 2015. So although the disease prevails in our country, the likelihood of contracting it is very slim.  As a contemporary Minnesotan, it does concern me that the wooded, forest land our state has to offer could be the perfect breeding ground for the bacteria Yersinia Pestis. The bacteria that creates the plague easily infects creatures commonly seen, such as fleas, squirrels and rats. Could a Minnesotan, perhaps while hunting, contract this disease? Perhaps, but with medical technology and the knowledge of diseases and ways to prevent them, the chance of getting infected is slim.



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