The Black Plague Is Still Lurking

While many of us thought the Black Plague was a thing of the past, turns out it’s making another “appearance.” According to CNN, “An outbreak of the plague (had) killed dozens in Madagascar…” in January of 2015. There were 119 cases reported along with 40 fatalities. A huge case of the plague also arose in Congo which affected 10,581 people. Not only has foreign countries been hit, but America as well. In September of 2015, the disease was carried into Michigan by an individual who caught it in Colorado. Of all the U.S., Colorado had been hit the hardest by the plague. A teenage boy and adult from Pueblo County both died. According to the Center for Disease Control, the U.S. has seen 7 outbreaks of the plague in the last decade and 80% of those were considered the bubonic plague. In addition, there were 16 deaths in 2015 resulting from the plague.

How did the plague start and what is it? “The Black Death first arrived in Europe by sea in October 1347 when 12 Genoese trading ships docked at the Sicilian port of Messina after a long journey through the Black Sea.” When the shipped docked, bystanders found that most of the passengers were dead and if not, they were extremely sick. The disease quickly spread and killed more than 20 million Europeans. One of the most intriguing characteristics of this illness are the black boils that it creates. Hence the name “black plague.” This terrible disease was (and still is) spread by “a bacillus called Yersinia pestis. (The French biologist Alexandre Yersin discovered this germ at the end of the 19th century.)” It started in rodents, transferred when they bit humans, and then humans spread it by simply breathing. That being said, there was no way of escaping this disease in the Middle Ages. Before modern medicine, the chance of death from the plague was 66%. Now it’s dropped to 11%. However, that percent is assuming the individual is seeking medical help as soon as symptoms start arising. Symptoms of the bubonic plague arise after 2 to 6 days while those with the Yersinia pestis would become ill in 1 to 3. When the bacteria goes untreated for too long it results in the septicemic plague. Similarly, if the bubonic plague goes untreated it could infect the lungs and cause pneumonic plague. The plague/ Black Death has been one of the most deadly diseases that has swept across the world. Even though it still exists today, it is not nearly as pertinent (or fatal) as it was in the 13th century.

My sources work hand in hand by building information to give clarity and understanding. They explained how the Black Plague came to be, what it is, how it’s still present, and gave examples of where it’s been found. This topic appealed to me because it certainly does relate to us. While this disease arose centuries ago, it is still affecting Americans and others around the world. It’s valuable to learn about our past so that we can see how it’s carried on to this era.

CNN Article #1

CNN Article #2

CDC Article

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