The child of a friend had 'gone to bed sicke'. The plague was suspected and Pepys thought about running away.
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This sick boy got better, but many thousands didn't. In London alone it is estimated that , people died from the plague between spring and summer The disease also affected other parts of the country. In the medieval period, bubonic plague - often referred to as the 'Black Death' - was one of the greatest threats to health. However, in the spring and summer of the plague reached epidemic levels.
Today, we know that the plague was carried into England by fleas that lived on black rats. The rats crawled ashore from ships that had arrived in London from Europe and multiplied in the crowded city streets. When fleas bit people, they infected them with the plague. At the time, there was no known cure for the plague.
Transmission also occurs by handling tissue or blood from a plague-infected animal, or inhalation of infected droplets. Bubonic plague , the disease's most common form, refers to telltale buboes—painfully swollen lymph nodes—that appear around the groin, armpit, or neck. Pneumonic plague , the most infectious type, is an advanced stage of plague that moves into the lungs. If untreated, bubonic and pneumonic plague can progress to septicemic plague , infecting the bloodstream. If left untreated, pneumonic and septicemic plague kills almost percent of those it infects.
Three particularly well-known pandemics occurred before the cause of plague was discovered. The first well-documented crisis was the Plague of Justinian, which began in A. Named after the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, the pandemic killed up to 10, people a day in Constantinople modern-day Istanbul, Turkey , according to ancient historians. Modern estimates indicate half of Europe's population—almost million deaths—was wiped out before the plague subsided in the s. Arguably the most infamous plague outbreak was the so-called Black Death , a multi-century pandemic that swept through Asia and Europe.
It was believed to start in China in , spreading along trade routes and reaching Europe via Sicilian ports in the late s. The Black Death lingered on for centuries, particularly in cities. Outbreaks included the Great Plague of London , in which 70, residents died. The cause of plague wasn't discovered until the most recent global outbreak, which started in China in and didn't officially end until The pandemic caused roughly 10 million deaths.
The plague was brought to North America in the early s by ships, and thereafter spread to small mammals throughout the United States.
The high rate of fatality during these pandemics meant that the dead were often buried in quickly dug mass graves. From teeth of these plague victims , scientists have pieced together a family tree of Y.
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Some people coped with the terror and uncertainty of the Black Death epidemic by lashing out at their neighbors; others coped by turning inward and fretting about the condition of their own souls. Some upper-class men joined processions of flagellants that traveled from town to town and engaged in public displays of penance and punishment: They would beat themselves and one another with heavy leather straps studded with sharp pieces of metal while the townspeople looked on.
The Black Death: The Greatest Catastrophe Ever | History Today
Then they would move on to the next town and begin the process over again. Though the flagellant movement did provide some comfort to people who felt powerless in the face of inexplicable tragedy, it soon began to worry the Pope, whose authority the flagellants had begun to usurp. In the face of this papal resistance, the movement disintegrated. The Black Death epidemic had run its course by the early s, but the plague reappeared every few generations for centuries.
Modern sanitation and public-health practices have greatly mitigated the impact of the disease but have not eliminated it. Start your free trial today. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! Subscribe for fascinating stories connecting the past to the present. In the new study, researchers from the University of Oslo analyzed climate data going back to the 14th century, looking for information about the weather conditions that coincided with outbreaks of the bubonic plague, or Black Death.
Specifically, the scientists analyzed After construction workers digging tunnels for the new Crossrail train line last year discovered some 25 skeletons buried under Charterhouse Square in the Clerkenwell area of London, scientists immediately suspected they had stumbled on a plague cemetery. The square, once home to In the realm of infectious diseases, a pandemic is the worst case scenario.
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