Bubonic Plague

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In the early 1300's, an outbreak of a deadly disease commonly known as the "bubonic plague" occurred in China. The precious lives of these people were being taken with no warning at all. It is said that the victims "would eat lunch with their friends, and dinner with their ancestors in paradise." (Boccaccio, 2011) Due to the trading that was going on between countries at that time, this devastating disease eventually spread to Asia and Europe. The tragic loss of lives was a mystery to the people of that period. They lived in fear from year to year, because they never knew when this mass murderer would hit next. Clearly even the children had to find unique ways of coping with the tragic events occurring; as the well-known nursery rhyme "Ring Around the Rosie" is actually a reference to the 1300's bubonic plague with its description of the round rosy-red rashes, pockets filled with scented herbs, and the cremated ashes of the dead. (NA, Ring Around the Rosy Rhyme) It was not until around 1894, that Alexander Yersin discovered the bacteria responsible for this devastating disease. The mass murderer turned out to be a small harmless looking microbe by the name of Yersinia pestis. It is believed today that Yersinia pestis is a microbe that actually originates from natural bacteria living in the soil, that simply went pathogenic. This virulent, gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium can grow with or without oxygen. It is able to survive for several months in cool, moist conditions. (Schoenstadt, 2008) It is a zoonotic microbe most commonly found in oriental rat fleas. In most cases these tiny, havoc-wreaking bacterium actually gather together and block the proventriculus in the flea, which prevents it from digesting it's food. This in... ... middle of paper ... ...ague-in-2011-appears-in-new-mexico/ Orent, W. (2001, November 1). Will the Black Death Return? Retrieved April 18, 2012, from Discover Magazine: http://discovermagazine.com/2001/nov/featblack Plague. (2005, February). Retrieved April 12, 2012, from World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs267/en/ Schoenstadt, A. (2008, October 28). Yersinia pestis. Retrieved March 26, 2012, from eMedTV: http://plague.emedtv.com/yersinia-pestis/yersinia-pestis.html TheMedievalNun. (2012). The Black Death. Retrieved March 26, 2012, from Squidoo: http://www.squidoo.com/the_black_death Wilkins, A. (2011, August 30). The bacterium responsible for the Black Death was once a mild stomach bug. Retrieved April 17, 2012, from i09 We Come From the Future: http://io9.com/5835859/the-bacterium-responsible-for-the-black-death-was-once-a-mild- stomach-bug

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