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The Black Plague Continues to Plague Us….We’re Just Unaware of It

You’re probably well versed in the history of the Black Plague, Black Death or Bubonic Plague and in particular the massive pandemic during the Medieval Era that swept across Europe between 1348 and 1350 .  The nasty pathogen responsible is the Yersinia pestis bacterium, believed to have started in China or central Asia. It travelled along the Silk Road and reached the crimea by 1346.  Oriental rat fleas living on the black rats,  passengers on merchant ships, are the known culprits. This was not the first outbreak of the plague: it reared its bulbous head in the Byzantine Empire during the sixth century, and was named the Plague of Justinian after emperor Justinian I, who was infected but survived. The disease spread inland, and Justinian’s efforts in acquiring luxurious goods became the leading exporter of the Bubonic plague. Procopius, in his work Secret History, declared that Justinian was a demon who either created the plague himself or was being punished for his sinfulness.  Hm. Now that one I find to be a bit of a stretch.  Not that Justinian was probably a jerk, but his ability to invent the plague seems a bit out of his realm, even for an evil dude. watch  the black death – part 1 of 2

it is indeed the origin of the sordid little nursery rhyme ring around the rosie:

ring around the rosie (a reference to the bubos)
a pocket full of posy (people used a spice inside of a handkerchief in hopes
it would prevent them from getting the plague…read below for a pun on
spice))
ashes ashes (burning corpses)
we all fall down (guess what that’s about)

However the plague didn’t stop there. The next few centuries displayed several outbreaks. The Great Plague of Seville (1647), the Great Plague of London (1665–1666) (I thought that was the Spice Girls), the Great Plague of Vienna (1679), and the Great Plague of Marseilles (1720), were the last major outbreaks of the bubonic plague in Europe. The plague resurfaced in the mid-19th century; the third pandemic began in Central Asia. The disease killed millions in China and India and then spread worldwide. Yikes.  To think the bubonic bitch history-hopped for that long does turn one’s appetite. watch the great plague of london and spice world trailer

Here’s the killer (pun): in 1994, a plague outbreak in five Indian states caused 700 infections (including 52 deaths). It would appear that 1994 was a bad year for the plague; in 1994 and 2010 cases were reported in Peru. In 2010 a case was reported in Oregon, United States. Some of the earliest biological warfare was when armies of the 14th century  catapulted diseased corpses (ick) over the walls of towns and villages. Talk about adding insult to injury.  Speaking of appetites, those soldiers must have had a strong collective stomach to be tossing around pussing and oozing cadavers. Let’s move the blog forward. watch impact of the black death

One good thing about the plague: it is bacterial in nature, meaning it is quite curable with antibiotics, that is, if it is caught in time or if an infected soul is lucky enough to live in a country that provides apt medical care.  And that is what separates the men from the boys where medical care for one’s people is concerned. Third World countries are notorious for their lack of health care. Does this mean these countries are too poverty-stricken to assist their poor in fighting disease?  I doubt it.  It’s all about paying down deficits and creating nuclear weaponry that appears to be the obstacle in medicare’s path, although preventing a pandemic certainly is in everyone’s interest.  That is when the government steps in and gets a plague under control.  If only medical care was always so efficient for those living in abject circumstances. Most likely the plague and rat fleas carrying pestis wouldn’t still be enjoying a nostalgic revival amoung modern civilizations.  The little pricks. watch plague rat experiment – bbc

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