It’s Still Here

Death. Disease. The past. That’s what we first think when we hear the word, “The Black Death ” or “The Plague.” We think of it as something that killed millions many of years ago. Well one thing that we probably don’t think about is the fact that it is indeed still around and hasn’t gone away. Luckily, it isn’t quite like it was back in the 14th century.

Well what exactly is the Black Death? Back in the 14th century, “The disease decimated an estimated 60 percent of Europe’s population in the 14th century and killed roughly 50 million more in Asia and Africa” according to PBS. It’s crazy to think how different times were back then and how they didn’t have as many resources we have today to help with the disease. Unfortunately there has been several cases of the plague in the United States throughout the years, 2015 especially. The plague first reached the United States in 1990 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The two articles from PBS and CDC both explain how the plague has changed from the 14th century to modern day.

The following image from CDC shows how the plague has impacted and killed people from 2000-2015.

Graph showing human plague cases and deaths in the United States, 2000 to 2015.  There were 6 cases in 2000, 2 in 2001, 2 in 2002, 1 in 2003, 3 in 2004 with 1 death, 17 in 2006 with 2 deaths, 7 in 2007 with 2 deaths, 3 in 2008, 8 in 2009 with 2 deaths, 2 in 2010, 3 in 2011, 4 in 2012, 4 in 2013 with 1 death, and 10 in 2014.

Although the plague isn’t as big as a problem as it used to be, it still has be known to kill people. There are several different forms of the plague, Bubonic infections being the most popular and the pneumonic plague the most dangerous. (PBS). There have been cases everywhere from California to New Mexico.  Thankfully with the drugs and antibiotics we have today, “the mortality rate for untreated plague once ranged from 66 percent to 93 percent but has been scaled back to 16 percent due to the advent of antibiotics, according to the CDC” (PBS).

This not only matters to a modern Minnesotan, but to everyone across the world. Yes, it may not be as common today and is more treatable but as a Minnesotan we very too can get the plague and it’s important to treat it early. I don’t think it will ever truly go away, but being aware of the problem and the resources we have today will indeed help us lower the mortality rate even more.


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