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Bubonic Plague DefinedA contagious, often fatal epidemic disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, transmitted from person to person or by the bite of fleas from an infected rodent, especially a rat, and characterized by chills, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and the formation of buboes. Definition

Historically known as the "Black Plague", this disease devastated Europe and Asia in the 1300s. It still exists today, and is characterized by sudden high fever, chills, excessively swollen and tender lymph nodes (buboes), followed by tissue bleeding and gangrene. Other complications include pneumonia and septicemia.


The Bubonic Plague is a bacterium called Yersinia pestis. It is spread by the rat's fleas bitting the infected rat and passed on to a non-infected rat. Later on , the infected flea would not be able to digest the blood and on the next meal, the flea would throw up the deadly bacteria whether it would be to another rat or any other animal and infects the victim with it. The rat victims would die from the germ, but not before being bitten by another non-infected flea. The plague affected mostly rodents but it was transmitted to humans by fleas. The symptoms associated with plague are bubos, that brought painful swellings of the lymph nodes. And appear in the armpits, legs, neck, or groin. If left untreated, plague victims die within two to four days. Victims of this disease suffered swelling in the armpit and groin, as well as bleeding in the lungs. Victims also suffered a very high fever, delirium and prostration.

It was the most commonly seen form of the Black Death. The mortality rate was 30-75%. The Black Death was named for the black spots that appeared on an infected victim's skin. The symptoms were enlarged and inflamed lymph nodes, headaches, nausea, aching joints, and fever of 101-105 degrees. The symptoms took from 1-7 days to appear.

The pneumonic plague was the second most commonly seen form of the Black Death. The pneumonic and the septicemic plague were probably seen less then the bubonic plague because the victims often died before they could reach other places . The mortality rate for the pneumonic plague was 90-95% . The pneumonic plague infected the lungs. Symptoms included slimy sputum tinted with blood, a saliva mixed with mucus exerted from the respiratory system. As the disease progressed, the sputum became free flowing and bright red. Symptoms took 1-7 days to appear.


The rarest form of the Black Death would be the septicemic plague. The mortality was close to 100% there was no cure. Symptoms were a high fever and skin turning deep shades of purple due to disseminated intravascular coagulation The victims who are inffected usually died the same day symptoms appeared. In some cities, as many as 800 people died every day.


Estimated population of Europe from
1000 to 1352.
1000 38 million
1100 48 million
1200 59 million
1300 70 million
1347 75 million
1352 50 million
25 million people died in just under five years
between 1347 and 1352.

The Bubonic Plague has been killing people throughout centuries. It was one of the worst natural disasters in history. The outbreak soon spread througout western Asia and Europe. Merchant ships returned home from the Black Sea. The crew of these ships however, had been affected by a strange disease. Dying bodies lay aboard the ships when they docked. And within days upon arrival, the disease spread to the city and the surrounding countryside. the plague soon swept over Europe, ravaged cities causing widespread hysteria and death. One third of the population of Europe died. The people abandon their infected families and friends to flee for other cities. Unfortunately, the plague had also spread along unknowingly. The impact upon the future of England was greater than upon any other European country.

Medieval and later-era plague suit, re-creation. Outfits of this type, worn by medieval physicians and made of cloth or leather, were uniquely associated with the plague in Europe. In addition to serving as a probable physical barrier to the plague pathogen, the suits had symbolic significance. The ability of birds to travel between earth and sky may have represented mediation between the earth and heaven. The costume's bird-like beak contained spices and vinegar-soaked cloth to mask the stench of death and decay and make the physicians' work less unbearable.

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