What is the Bubonic Plague?

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What is the Bubonic Plague? The Bubonic Plague is a disease that is caused by a germ called Yersinia pestis. It is spread to humans by fleas from infected rodents. In the 1300s, fourth of the population of Europe was destroyed. The disease causes swelling of the lymph glands (up to the size of a hens egg). The Greek word for groin is boubon, which is bubonic. The number of reported human cases of this plague in the United States has increased since the 1960s because the environment isn't staying clean. How do you get this disease? When a rat is infected, the flea bites the rat then the flea gets infected. The disease fills the stomach of the flea making it so the flea can't digest any more blood. The flea then becomes so hungry that it bites the human. Now the human is infected. The first symptoms are headaches, nausea, vomiting and aching joints. Some others are fever, chills, the most horrible: the skin turns black. In the 1300s the plague spread so quickly in cities for many reasons. There were no regular garbage pick-ups. They let their food become rotten and kept them in their homes for weeks. Left over meals were thrown onto the ground for animals, also feeding rats and fleas. They had no running water, so bathing was every once in a while. Galen's theory was that the disease was spread by poisonous vapors coming from swamps which corrupted the air. Heat was also believed to be a cause of the disease. People washed their feet and hands regularly but, not their bodies because this would open pores, another way for the disease to enter the body. Three Major Outbreaks The first plague was the Plague of Justinian. The plague followed trade routes to France and Italy. It killed 70,000 people. It killed 1,000 people weekly. Smaller out breaks occurred up until 1340. The second major outbreak was the Bubonic Plague. It was the most devastating. It occurred in Europe in 1346-50. The Bubonic Plague is also known as the Black Death. It began in Kaffa, a cathedral town on the Crimean Coast. By the end of 1348, the plague covered all of Italy and most of France. By 1351, the Plague reached Russia. The third major outbreak was the Great Plague of London, in 1665 which killed 17,440 people out of the total population of 93,000. A fire burned most of the city and ended the outbreak. Human Cases There have been cases of Bubonic Plague throughout the United States.

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