The Black Plague – Then vs Now

The Black Plague, also known as the bubonic plague, was a major disease in Europe around the mid-1300’s. Giovanni Boccaccio gave a very good first hand account of how the Black Plague spread throughout Italy. He also explains how it affected all the classes of Italy, from the upper class to the lower class. CNN also had an article on the bubonic plague but it was more recent, the article was about cases of the plague in the U.S. in 2015. It included many facts about the bubonic plague though I found that the most interesting facts were that states had cases of the bubonic plague in 2015, Minnesota was not one of them, and that there is a season for the plague. Which is late spring to early fall.

Giovanni Boccaccio and the CNN article relate quite well to each other. The article has a lot of information on how there are still a few people in the U.S. that get the plague every year. However the article does not go into depth about what the bubonic plague really looks like. Boccaccio’s account helps to better give you a visual of what the plague looked like and the affect it had on society. Looking at how big of an effect that the black plague had on Europe is a little bit frightening. It killed over half of Europe’s population, which just shows how important it is that people realize that it is still around and how dangerous it could be.

The CNN article stated that there were fifteen cases of the bubonic plague, four died, in the U.S. just last year. This number actually increased from last year although no one knows why. This is somewhat worrisome especially if you look at the first hand account of Boccaccio and how horrible it was for him. That’s why it’s important for you to always go to the doctor if you come back from a vacation and you are feeling sick. There is a very low chance that you have the plague but if you are coming back from a woods or somewhere where there are ticks your chances of having it are increased. You don’t want to end up like some of the people in Boccaccio’s account with your body swelling up.

The fact that there are still cases of the Black Plague, however slim, shows that we as a people are not invincible to disease. So if you’re walking in the wild remember that we still can get diseases from animals. Try to not walk through an open field because there is a high chance that you will get ticks. These could give you the plague, though unlikely, or even a more common disease like limes.

Sources:

Primary – http://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/halsall/source/decameronintro.asp

Secondary – http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/22/health/plague-cases-2015-cdc/

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