The Black Death Today

The Black Death, as many people know, was a large bacterial outbreak during the 14th century. Contrary to popular belief the plague is still around today and there still are minor outbreaks in certain countries. The plague may be easily treated with modern antibiotics, however if left untreated certain forms of the plague have about a 50% mortality rate and sometime can kill within just 24 hours. (Filip, Iulia. theatlantic.com) Because of the high death chance without proper treatment the plague can become detrimental to underdeveloped countries that don’t have access to antibiotics. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the modern plague is spread through flea bites, and small mammals, which may put people living in urban areas or unclean areas at risk because there is a higher rat population in those areas. The result is that in certain areas the plague might be able to bring havoc to its citizens if the small mammal and flea populations are not contained at a certain level.

The most recent outbreak of the disease was in Madagascar in 2013. The outbreak reportedly killed 32 people out of the only 84 cases that were recorded. That ratio is almost half, so on a higher scale the death toll could be gigantic. Even in 2012 Madagascar faced more deaths from the plague. About 60 people died from the plague during that year, and the spread is a result poor hygiene among the residents and the reduction of living standards. (Filip, Iulia. theatlantic.com)

Although the Black Death is easy to deal with if antibiotics are present today, there is one way that the disease can destroy areas fast. Some experts believe that because the plague spread so fast in the 14th century that it was not possible for it to only be spread by animals. Many believe that there had to have been an airborne version of the plague for it to be able to spread so quickly and infect so many people. As a result, if an airborne version of the plague were to come up today the effect could prove detrimental to public health.

One of the worst things that can occur is if the plague become used as a military weapon. There have already been attempts to used the plague as a weapon in past wars. Two of the strategies used were launching infected bodies over walls and dropping infected fleas off of planes.

plaguedoctor.jpgThis is an image of what a medieval plague doctor would have looked like. They wore a hat, a large thick gown, and a mask that resembles a beak. The stick that the man is holding was used to make sure that the patients did not get too close to the doctor.

The two sources that I used were The Atlantic and The CDC. The reason for this was because, The Atlantic provided a lot of information about the disease in general and went specific in everything it covered. The CDC provided information about the modern plague and the disease if used in military warfare.

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