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History of the Bubonic Plague (Black Death)

The history of the bubonic plague, also known as the Black Death, is marked by several devastating pandemics. The bubonic…

By Staff , in History of Disorders , at July 5, 2024 Tags: ,

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The history of the bubonic plague, also known as the Black Death, is marked by several devastating pandemics. The bubonic plague is a highly infectious disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. It primarily affects rodents but can be transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas.

The Plague of Justinian (541-542 AD)
Origins and Spread: Believed to have originated in Ethiopia, it spread to the Byzantine Empire, killing millions and severely impacting the economy and military.

The Black Death (1347-1351)
Outbreak and Impact: Originating in Central Asia, it reached Europe via trade routes, killing an estimated 25-30 million people, or about one-third of Europe’s population.
Consequences: This pandemic caused massive social, economic, and cultural upheavals, drastically altering European society.

Subsequent Outbreaks
Recurring Epidemics: Bubonic plague recurred in Europe and Asia over the centuries, with notable outbreaks such as the Great Plague of London (1665-1666).
Third Pandemic (1855): Originating in China, it spread globally, causing millions of deaths, particularly in India.

Causes and Control
Yersinia pestis: The bacterium Yersinia pestis, transmitted by fleas from infected rodents, was identified as the cause in the late 19th century.
Modern Medicine: Improvements in hygiene, antibiotics, and pest control have largely contained the plague, though occasional outbreaks still occur.

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