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Black Death

I was looking on Pinterest, scrolling through pins based off of the Black Death. I came across an article called “Was The Black Death a Virus?”. After reading this article, it goes into the effects of the black death. There was high mortality rate, it spread very quickly, easily infectious, there were “awful odors, bruise-like splotches and disrupted nervous systems that resulted in delirium and stupor.” This article explains Black Death but compares it to other illnesses such as modern-day bubonic plague, and buboes which have little similarities to Black Death itself. It points out that the disease came from fleas off of rats which infected humans and therefore spread. But looking at the spread across the world it took, the fleas should’ve died in the cold months, in which the migration of the infection doesn’t show. The article points out how a tumor back in that day, wouldn’t be the same definition of a tumor in modern-day health. So it makes me question: Was this a illness that occurred once and we didn’t correctly diagnose it? Or could it still be around because we were as intellectual back in those days? Or, could it simply be the same bubonic plague we have today, we’ve just grown to defend against the virus better?

This ties into another article I read from ABC news called, “Yes, the plague still exists, here’s what it’s like now in the US”. The news goes in to the fact of these children getting the bubonic plague, but being easily treatable with antibiotics. They state that the plague isn’t as severe, being deadly, as it use to be, and is treatable. Saying that there won’t be “another black death”. It also covers data showing the decreasing bubonic plague cases over the past few years.

After reading both of these articles, I noticed that the second one gives an answer to one of my questions. “Could it simply be the same bubonic plague we have today, we’re just grown to defend against the virus better?”. This article supports the idea of it is the same virus, we’re just in better health and therefore we won’t struggle as badly fighting against the illness as they did when the Black Death went around.

Though the second article makes a point that this virus isn’t common, it’s still dangerous and still around even after this many years. This could be a concern for Minnesotans. What if the bubonic plague hits Minnesota? No it wouldn’t be sudden death for anyone, but with the weather we receive it might not help getting the normal winter sickness, with a splash of bubonic plague on top.




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The Effects of the Black Death

The Black Death was a widespread epidemic of the bubonic plague which killed an estimated one-third of the European population during the height of the disease from around 1346 to 1353. The highly and indiscriminately infectious disease was spread by infected fleas from small animals. Due to the high number of fleas, rodents, and other small animals aboard merchant ships, the plague spread quickly and devastatingly across the globe bringing death and destruction everywhere it went. Most plague victims would meet their end only two to seven days after being infected and displayed symptoms including, but not limited to: gangrene, abdominal pain, bleeding, and, of course, death.

Those who were around at the time of the outbreak and miraculously lived to tell the tale left behind chilling accounts of what they had experienced. For example, a chronicle written between the years of 1314 and 1350 describes the impact the plague had on society through the social and economical scene. This first hand description of the Black Death tells about how so many workers dies that there weren’t enough people to replace them. “There was such a shortage of servants, craftsmen, and workmen, and of agricultural workers and labourers…[that] churchmen, knights and other worthies have been forced to thresh their corn, plough the land and perform every other unskilled task if they are to make their own bread” (Black Death Chronicle). This quote describes how even those of high societal ranking had to do the tasks of peasants because all of theirs had died in the Black Death epidemic. The importance of this statement sheds light on how, even after the plague, Europe remained deeply affected by the sheer number of people who died.

On a more contemporary note, this news story reports on a recent contraction of the plague. Though extremely rare, there are still people being diagnosed with the bubonic plague. According to the story, a child in Idaho was recovering from the bubonic plague in July of 2018. Due to advancements in the medical field as well as modern technology, the bubonic plague can be identified early and be treated quite easily with the help of antibiotics. “The plague, in spite of its lethal reputation, is not uncommon in the U.S. and it is usually no longer a death sentence” (ABC News). The story speaks to the fact that the plague is treatable in today’s world, and that though it is highly infectious, “another “black death” is not coming.” It also mentions ways to avoid contracting and spreading the plague.

The two sources relate because they both speak to how infectious the plague is, and that it could easily wipe out a population if left untreated or in filthy conditions. These sources raise an issue of how we as a society deal with infectious outbreaks such as the plague. For example, the fairly recent outbreak of Ebola continues to devastate third-world countries in Africa. As a Minnesotan in 2018, there is very little to worry about such outbreaks due to modern medicine.

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The Black Death

When I was learning about the Black Death a couple of weeks ago it was reminding me of when my cousin had meningitis and had blood coming to the surface of her skin as well in blisters.  The Black Death was the second of three pandemics in history.  It occurred in the 14th Century and originated in the mid 1300s in Central Asia lasting 400 years.  (Cua and Frey).  It was also the most severe of the three pandemics as 1/4-1/3 of Europes entire population died within the first few years.  (Cua and Frey).

The Black Death was spread from rodents fleas to humans.  The rats would travel on ships in trade routes and get off at the trade ports infecting entire cities. As the Black Death was known to leave black marks all over the skin it was resembled in many artworks in Europe from that time frame as well as in writings and plays.  (Cua and Frey).

I was surprised to see that there was a recent case of the Black Death which is a form of the bubonic plague, in Idaho in June 2018.  This was the first case of the Black Death Idaho had seen in 26 years. (Perrigo).  The boy is at home recovering in stable condition after being treated with antibiotics.  The Plague is much more easily treated now with modern antibiotics.  If the plague goes untreated it can still be deadly.  It is unclear if the boy was exposed to an infected flea on a trip he took to Oregon or if it was from his home state of Idaho.  (Perrigo).  There were squirrels tested for infected fleas in the boys neighborhood in 2015 and 2016 that came back positive but there have not been any other cases since then.  (Perrigo).

These articles are interesting because you would think even with modern medicine that if there were infected fleas that more people would get the plague or Black Death as they do with Strep Throat or a cold.  I wonder how many other rodents have been tested positive for the plague and how different people react to the disease when being exposed now.  I wonder with my primary news source how much further research they did into the boy’s case of the plague.


Primary News Story

Primary Source



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The Black Death

The Medieval Black Death that caused this terrible epidemic of 1347-1351 CE claimed so many lives. Millions of people died due to this horrible disease, mainly killing off the young, the old and anyone who was exposed previously to this condition. Research has come to show that people were still able to live beyond and after this outbreak. Extensive research has been done among the population living in London post Black Death. In London samples were taken from cemeteries of skeletons in the population at the time of the Black Death. There was a study down among ages of people that it affected but only adults were tracked. The death rate was lower among younger people and higher among older people. The Black Death was only one of the outbreaks of the plague. It was a catastrophe.

You would think that a mass epidemic would end a long time ago but it has not. The plague also known as the Black Death has come back, but  now in the 21st century a worst plague has hit, but this time it has come back and has haunted places such as the Congo and America. It is said that it’s much worse than the past. The Congo a place in Africa, is known to have one of the first cases of Ebola virus. This, like the plague is disease caused by bacteria. This disease is not only took people out fast, it spreads rapidly. The largest outbreak to date was in 2004, in West Africa or 28,000 people were infected and 11,000 people died. Not only was Ebola a pandemic throughout Africa, HIV, and the Zika virus is also considered on the level of diseases that the Black Death was given.

In the year 1918 the H1N1 Flu spread through the world from France to China, and to the United States. It killed off a million people young and the old. It killed rapidly and even coroners couldn’t keep up with how many deaths were happening. The H1N1 Flu was one of the deadliest. Fortunately in 1948 the first flu vaccine was created along with penicillin as an antibiotic to use to contain this disease.

The United States has many pandemics related to the black death which include deathly diseases like HIV, the flu, Zika virus, and SARS.  The United States has a very good vaccination program, hospitals, the latest in testing and Healthcare,  but we may not be ready to handle all the new diseases as a country. America has access to medication however we are still relying on health supplies and medications from other countries. We depend on medical supplies from India and China. Can America handle a pandemic of that magnitude? That is certainly a question for the President of the United States. 

It is possible the pandemic can be handled, but a lot of our health programs are needing funding, a lot of people rich and poor have trouble sustaining health care, and as a whole our country still needs political leadership to handle these things.

As of now, influenza is the most dangerous pandemic comparable to the Black Death. The flu virus kills almost 500,000 people around the globe yearly. If America takes steps to constantly watch for and stay updated on the latest vaccinations to treat this pandemic, we could overcome and not continue to take the lives of many people like the black death did.

Plague Doctor, via Love of History

Primary Source: https://bonesdontlie.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/surviving-the-black-death/


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The Black Death

The issue I chose to idenify was The Black Death. I found a Pintrest page and a WordPress that talk about this event. I feel these websites coralate well with eachother as one provides information with a few pictures and the other provides pictures with less information. The Black Death, also known as The Plague was a deadly diease. This disease killed about 75-200 million people in Europe. This was about 1/3 of Europes population at the time. This diease was transferred to humans by infected rats. There were four different types of The Plague. The bubonic plague happens by the bite of a flea. The bacterium would multiply within the flea before it was transferred to the victim. The second type of plague, was the septicemic plague. This plague was created by the entrance of bacteria from its multiplying place into the blood vessels. This plague would enter your body from the outside through wounds. The pathogens would make their way into your blood stream which would then be transfered throughout your entire body. The third type of plague was the pneumonic plague. This plague had two different forms of pests. The primary pneumonic plague would infect people by a droplet infection from person to person. The secondary pneumonic plague develops out of a bubonic plague. The pathogens would enter the lungs by blood vessels and provoke through a septicemic plague. The final type of plague was the abortive plague. This plague was a harmless variant of the pest that could be passed. The two most abundant forms, were the bubonic and the pneumonic plague. Relating this to life today, there could be many more bacteial outbreaks. For instance, in 2014 an outbreak occured in West Africa. Ebola was transferred to many different people and led to many deaths. Airlines into the country were shut down to prevent this disease from spreading into other countries. Our world is only improving and getting smarter though. Technology and medicene continue to improve everyday. I believe it is very beneficial to live in the United States. We have some of the top medical care and technology in the world. Not to say something like this couldn’t happen in our country, however I do think we have an advantage. 

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Black Death and Crohn’s Disease

When reading an the article about the Black Death it said, “European incidence of Crohn’s disease is likely to be a result of surviving the Black Death in the middle ages, according to new research presented today at UEG Week.”  They found that there was statistical significance between outbreak intensities and Crohn’s disease-associated mutations in the general population – which helps to explain modern-day prevalence of Crohn’s disease in Europe. Crohn’s disease is a chronic relapsing condition that, together with ulcerative colitis, comprises the disease known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Mutations of NOD2 have been shown to aid the resistance of the organism that causes the plague and the results of the study show that the prevalence of these mutations associated with Crohn’s disease are correlated with the intensities of plague outbreaks.

After reading about Crohn’s being related to the Black Death I became very interested in how similar Crohn’s and the Black Death were. I found an article on The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation page. It explained that Oppenheimer, Crohn’s disease belongs to a group of conditions known as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). When reading about inflammatory bowel diseases, it is important to know that Crohn’s disease is not the same thing as ulcerative colitis, another type of IBD. Finally, in Crohn’s disease, the inflammation of the intestine can “skip”– leaving normal areas in between patches of diseased intestine. While symptoms vary from patient to patient and some may be more common than others, the tell-tale symptoms of Crohn’s disease include: Crohn’s is a chronic disease, so this means patients will likely experience periods when the disease flares up and causes symptoms, followed by periods of remission when patients may not notices symptoms at all. Diet and stress may aggravate Crohn’s Disease, but they do not cause the disease on their own.

My news source was from an article in a newsmagazine/ web magazine related to business.   My primary source was a website of a foundation who promotes the knowledge and information regarding Crohns.At first glance they do not appear to be related, however it is possible that both the research cited in the magazine and the foundation are partially funded by drug companies who are researching and developing medications for Crohn’s.

I am concerned with the fact that a business magazine is the source of news on research for a disease that affects us.  It gives the impression that the research is geared towards the money making side of medicine rather than the individuals affected by the disease.  My issue with the foundation website is that while it appears to be a fact based website, it may be in fact funded by pharmaceutical companies.

The tie between Crohn’s and Black death/plague is interesting to a Minnesota because a traditionally a large percentage of Minnesotans have some form of European heritage. This means that the genetic mutations that were caused by survival of the plague do affect many Minnesotans.


News article:

UEG Week 2018: New Research Links Crohn’s Disease to Black Death


Primary Source:

Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation


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Climate Change

Climate change is an ever present issue in todays society. One of the sources I read was about what the environment would be like in 100 years. It was very interesting to me because I value the earth a lot and want it to still be here and living for my children. In the article it talked about how in some arctic areas like Greenland there may not even be glaciers in the summer anymore. To me, that is scary because of the damage that would do to the wildlife. The other source I read was about how climate change is affecting the world now. Unexpected heat waves are hitting and staying in many parts of the world. Europe has a rapidly growing older population which is now more susceptible to heat related illness. The heat is also affecting productivity. Productivity is down in many parts of the world close to the equator because people are not able to work. This affects agriculture the most. Plants and animals are dying because of the conditions putting stress on scientists are farmers to develop new genetically modified food for our changing climate. Both articles talked about the rising of the earth’s temperature. The temperature of the earth has increased a whole 0.3 degrees Celsius since 2000. These sources compliment each other because one is about how climate change will affect our world in the future and one is about how climate change is already affecting our world. These sources both make me realize how much climate change really is affecting us even if I cannot personally experience it. It’s upsetting to think that the natural disasters and extreme heat may eventually kill the human race if we don’t do something about it. I think that we should find a long lasting solution to keep this world at least livable for as long as possible. At this point, we only have one planet and it’s sad to me that some people do not care about what happens to it. Doing your part is very important. Even if it is something small like not getting a bag at the grocery store when you do not need it or bringing a reusable cup to the coffee shop. As a Minnesotan I hold winter dear to my heart. It would be crushing to see our entire state lose winter at some point or have a winter with no snow. There is nothing we can do now about the planet warming. The temperature will continue to rise but the factor we can change is by how much and how fast. Renewable resources and recycling could help us but we all need to be willing. The first article I read stated that every ton of recycled aluminum cans takes about 10 tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere (Moser). I have personally noticed many places in just my community that need recycling bins. My high school football stadium, for example, sells bottles of pop at football games and provide no recycling bins. We have recycling bins inside the school, why not outside too? Another example is my church. Last year I helped out in making sure that every room with a garbage can also had a recycling bin. Why go to such lengths you may ask? Because every little thing helps out. Every recycled item, every light shut off when you’re not in the room, every electronic device you unplug when not using saves CO2 from being pumped out into our world. Everything you do matters.

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