The Black Death

Katherine Xu, January 6, 2016, Digital Literacy, Period 2

The Black Death

The Black Death is one of the deadliest pandemics in human history. With death tolls reaching 75-100 million, it killed 30-60% of Europe's entire population in the 1300's. The virus, called Yersisnia pestis, was said to be originated in Central Asia. The Black Death is also known as the Bubonic, Septicemic, or Pneumonic Plague. So I ask myself, how can I create a presentation that will show the cause, effects, and symptoms of the Black Death? I selected this topic because I think it is very interesting, how something could kill almost half of Europe's population.

The Black Death-Continued

The virus originated in Central Asia, and it traveled along the Silk Road, reaching Crimea by 1343. After Crimea, the disease was carried through infected fleas and rats that went on merchant boats. When the disease spread quickly, some people thought this was a punishment from God. Some believed that they had to purge the troublemakers, so thousands of Jews were massacred in 1348-1349.

There are three different versions of the plague, and the first one is called the Bubonic Plague. It gets its name from the buboes that you develop when you get the disease. The bacteria infects the lymph node system and becomes inflamed. The painful black swellings are in the lymph nodes, underarms, and neck. The victim will develop flu-like symptoms after 3-7 days. The second version is called the Septicemic Plague. The bacteria multiplies in the bloodstream, and inhibits the victim's body's ability to clot. So, essentially, they're bleeding to death, from everywhere, at the same time. The last version is called the Pneumonic Plague. This is the most infectious of all the plagues. The bacteria settles in the lungs and causes pneumonia. If left untreated, this version kills 50% of all victims.

The Black Death-Data

Its deaths reaching 75-200 million, it killed Europe's population by 30-60%. The Black Death reduced the world population by 450 million, down to 350-375 million by the 14th century. The world didn't fully recover until the 17th century. The disease reoccurred in Europe, but not in that big in magnitude, until the 19th century. I have read some articles where people say that the disease wasn't carried from rats and fleas, but was actually airborne. "As an explanation [rats, fleas] for the Black Death in it's own right, it simply isn't good enough. It cannot spread fast enough from one household to the next to cause the huge number of cases we saw during the Black Death epidemics," expert Tim Brooks , who's involved in a new documentary on the plague, theorized to the Guardian. Alternatively, I have read other articles that are stating that Ebola was actually behind the disease. "Intuitively, the Black Death has all the hallmarks of a viral disease rather than one caused by plague bacteria. The history books are wrong, there's little doubt about that," said Professor Duncan, who studies the way epidemics spread. I think this topic is very mysterious, since no one really knows where the bacteria first originated from. Also, as fast as the plague had come, it left just as quickly.