Throughout the early 1300s, Europe was thriving and progressing forward each day. The economy was on the rise, security was getting stronger, and Churches were building mile-high Cathedrals every which way you looked. Europe was on its way to hosting world powers even potentially until death swept across the entire continent taking the lives of millions.
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Between the years of 1347 and 1351, an unfamiliar plague killed a third of the world’s entire population, an estimate of 25-40 million people. In 1899, French biologist Alexandre Yersin came to the discovery of the bacteria that was the cause of this disease- Yersinia pestis. While this disease was deadly, the causes of the spread of the disease may have been even been more fatal. The world changed drastically due to this horrific event in many ways, with some even having positive results.
In today’s society, we now know the deadly disease as The Black Death, a nickname coming from one of the effects of the disease. Victims would have large black boils swell upon their bodies, typically around their necks and armpits, that would release puss and blood. Other symptoms consisted of fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, terrible aches and painsand then, in short order, death. We also now know that there were three different types of the plague- bubonic, pneumonic, and septicemic. The bubonic plague was the most common type, hence the reasoning for all three types often being categorized under just bubonic. It’s named bubonic after it’s symptom bubobes, the earlier mentioned black swellings on the body. The second type, the pneumonic plague, infected the lungs and was very contagious when victims coughed. Due to the disease primarily attacking the lungs, the infected often coughed often and would infect the air by doing so. According to PBS, mortality rates for treated individuals range from 1 percent to 15 percent for bubonic plague to 40 percent for the septicemic plague. In untreated victims, the rates rise to about 50 percent for bubonic and 100 percent for septicemia. The mortality rate for untreated pneumonic plague is 100 percent; death occurs within 24 hours. The third type was called the septicemic plague, which consisted of the blood being poisoned by bacteria or toxins they produce, which could be a result of either the bubonic or pneumonic plague. The septicemic plague was less common but had a very high fatality rate all the same. According to Author Diane Williamson, the fatality rate of the septicemic plague fell between 20-40%, with a 100% rate for those untreated, which was often the case.
The bacteria Yersinia pestis is carried by rodent fleas, living in their digestive season. These fleas would often infect humans and animals by biting into their skin. Humans can also be infected by handling or being with or around infected animals.
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