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The Black Plague

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History of the Black Death - Full Documentary

Globally between and , there were 3, documented cases, which resulted in deaths. From 1, to 2, cases are conservatively reported per year to the WHO. Between and , the United States had 1, human plague cases with an average of 9 cases per year. Unusually, most of the cases were pneumonic rather than bubonic. In June , a child was confirmed to be the first person in Idaho to be infected by bubonic plague in nearly 30 years. A couple died in May , in Mongolia, while hunting marmots. Officials responded by activating a city-wide plague-prevention system for the remainder of the year.

The first recorded epidemic affected the Sassanian Empire and their arch-rivals, the Eastern Roman Empire Byzantine Empire and was named the Plague of Justinian after emperor Justinian I , who was infected but survived through extensive treatment. In the spring of , the plague arrived in Constantinople, working its way from port city to port city and spreading around the Mediterranean Sea , later migrating inland eastward into Asia Minor and west into Greece and Italy. The Plague of Justinian is said to have been "completed" in the middle of the 8th century.

Procopius, in his work Secret History , declared that Justinian was a demon of an emperor who either created the plague himself or was being punished for his sinfulness. In the Late Middle Ages Europe experienced the deadliest disease outbreak in history when the Black Death, the infamous pandemic of bubonic plague, hit in , killing one-third of the European human population. Some historians believe that society subsequently became more violent as the mass mortality rate cheapened life and thus increased warfare, crime, popular revolt, waves of flagellants, and persecution.

Chinese records also showed a huge outbreak in Mongolia in the early s. Research published in suggests that it began in early in the steppe region, where a plague reservoir stretches from the northwestern shore of the Caspian Sea into southern Russia. The epidemic began with an attack that Mongols launched on the Italian merchants' last trading station in the region, Caffa in the Crimea. In late , plague broke out among the besiegers and from them penetrated the town. The Mongol forces catapulted plague-infested corpses into Caffa as a form of attack, one of the first known instances of biological warfare.

Carried by the fleas on rats, the plague initially spread to humans near the Black Sea and then outwards to the rest of Europe as a result of people fleeing from one area to another. Rats migrated with humans, traveling among grain bags, clothing, ships, wagons, and grain husks. The plague resurfaced for a third time in the midth century. Like the two previous outbreaks, this one also originated in Eastern Asia , most likely in Yunnan , a province of China, where there are several natural plague foci.

In the city of Canton , beginning in January , the disease killed 80, people by June. Daily water-traffic with the nearby city of Hong Kong rapidly spread the plague there, killing over 2, within two months during the Hong Kong plague. Also known as the modern pandemic, the third pandemic spread the disease to port cities throughout the world in the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th century via shipping routes. This law was originally signed into existence by President Chester A. Arthur in The Chinese Exclusion Act was supposed to last for 10 years, but was renewed in with the Geary Act and subsequently made permanent in during the outbreak of plague in Chinatown, San Francisco.

The last major outbreak in the United States occurred in Los Angeles in , [53] though the disease is still present in wild rodents, and can be passed to humans that come in contact with them. In , a plague outbreak in five Indian states caused an estimated infections including 52 deaths and triggered a large migration of Indians within India as they tried to avoid the plague. The scale of death and social upheaval associated with plague outbreaks has made the topic prominent in many historical and fictional accounts since the disease was first recognized.

The Black Death in particular is described and referenced in numerous contemporary sources , some of which, including works by Chaucer , Boccaccio , and Petrarch , are considered part of the Western canon. The Decameron , by Boccaccio, is notable for its use of a frame story involving individuals who have fled Florence for a secluded villa to escape the Black Death. First-person, sometimes sensationalized or fictionalized, accounts of living through plague years have also been popular across centuries and cultures. For example, Samuel Pepys 's diary makes several references to his first-hand experiences of the Great Plague of London in —6.

Later works, such as Albert Camus 's novel The Plague or Ingmar Bergman 's film The Seventh Seal have used bubonic plague in settings, such as quarantined cities in either medieval or modern times, as a backdrop to explore a variety of concepts. Common themes include the breakdown of society, institutions, and individuals during the plague, the cultural and psychological existential confrontation with mortality, and the allegorical use of the plague about contemporary moral or spiritual questions. Some of the earliest instances of biological warfare were said to have been products of the plague, as armies of the 14th century were recorded catapulting diseased corpses over the walls of towns and villages to spread the pestilence.

This was done by Jani Beg when he attacked the city of Kaffa in These operations caused epidemic plague outbreaks. Substantial research has been done regarding the origin of the plague and how it traveled through the continent. For example, in , archeologists uncovered a burial mound to reveal 17 bodies, mainly children, who had died of the Bubonic plague. They analyzed these burial remains using radiocarbon dating to determine they were from the s, and dental core analysis revealed the presence of Yersinia Pestis.

Other evidence for rats that are currently still being researched consists of gnaw marks on bones, predator pellets and rat remains that were preserved in situ. Another research study indicates that these separate pandemics were all interconnected. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Human and animal disease. This article is about the disease. For information about the medieval plague, see Black Death. Medical condition. Main article: Epidemiology of plague. Main article: Plague of Justinian. Main articles: Black Death and Second plague pandemic.

Main article: Third plague pandemic. See also: Black Death in medieval culture. Archived from the original on 24 April Retrieved 10 May Archived from the original on 19 August Retrieved 21 August PMID S2CID Archived from the original on 21 August Archived from the original on 22 August Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands. ISBN BMC Biology. PMC Medical response to terrorism : preparedness and clinical practice. Philadelphia [u. October PLOS Pathogens. Medical History. The Black Death — as it is commonly called — especially ravaged Europe, which was halfway through a century already marked by war, famine and scandal in the church, which had moved its headquarters from Rome to Avignon, France, to escape infighting among the cardinals.

In the end, some 75 million people succumbed, it is estimated. It took several centuries for the world's population to recover from the devastation of the plague, but some social changes, borne by watching corpses pile up in the streets, were permanent. The disease existed in two varieties, one contracted by insect bite and another airborne. In both cases, victims rarely lasted more than three to four days between initial infection and death, a period of intense fever and vomiting during which their lymph nodes swelled uncontrollably and finally burst. The plague bacteria had lain dormant for hundreds of years before incubating again in the s in the Gobi Desert of Asia, from which it spread quickly in all directions in the blood of fleas that traveled with rodent hosts.

Following very precisely the medieval trade routes from China, through Central Asia and Turkey, the plague finally reached Italy in aboard a merchant ship whose crew had all already died or been infected by the time it reached port. Densely populated Europe, which had seen a recent growth in the population of its cities, was a tinderbox for the disease.

The Black Death ravaged the continent for three years before it continued on into Russia, killing one-third to one-half of the entire population in ghastly fashion. The plague killed indiscriminately — young and old, rich and poor — but especially in the cities and among groups who had close contact with the sick. Others experts view the issue through an evolutionary lens, claiming that genetic changes in the plague bacterium or its carriers broke the cycle of outbreaks. One thing's for sure: The Black Death lived on for entirely too long. The Black Death made the heart grow fonder of absence.

Per the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases , this period marked the emergence of the quarantine. Back then, the word "quarantine," which comes from the Italian term for "40" quaranta , referred to a precautionary measure imposed by European port cities. Incoming ships had to rest at anchor for 40 days before landing. This was distinct from the practice of isolation, which entailed separating sick people from the healthy. With quarantine, seemingly healthy people who were exposed to the plague had to remain sequestered just in case.

Some locales went to great lengths to keep people away from each other. This high-stakes game of keep away sometimes turned the Black Death into a lonely one. As noted by the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases , "in , Viscount Bernabo of Reggio, Italy, declared that every person with plague be taken out of the city into the fields, there to die or to recover. Additionally, Tegusa's top doctor, Jacob of Padua, set up a treatment facility located outside the city for sick residents and outsiders. Via the Science Museum of London , hospitals erected to combat the plague stayed in operation until the s. The plague never completely kicked the bucket, but it's a shell of its hellish self.

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