The Bubonic Plague or "Black Death" was a fatal disease spread by fleas which lived on rats and humans. This plague started in Asia and traveled to Europe by rat-infested Italian ships trading goods across the Mediterranean Sea. The Plague reached England by 1348, and by 1351 it had killed over a million people, one-third of Europe's entire population.
Few who caught the Black Death ever survived. Whole towns, villages and hamlets were wiped out. A rat bite on a person's leg or arm would swell up into a painful bulging welt. More painful welts would appear all over the person's body until the infection was so bad that the person died usually within three days. As the people died out, so did The Plague. Today this disease is not fatal if treated with antibiotics when first detected.
Excellent Resource for study of epidemic disease!
Excerpt from Extraordinary Endings of Practically Everything and Everybody by Charles Panati, Harper&Row, 1989
'It began late in 1346 as an epidemic in the fortificd trading port of Caffa (now Theodosia~ on the Crimean shore of the Black Sea. "I buried with my own hands five of my children in a single grave," wrote Italian author Agnioli di Tura. "No bells. No tears. This is the end of the world." That is how the scourge was viewed. Burial Pits were hastily dug and as rapidly filled with corpses. As a commentator of the time graphically wrote: "The testator and his heirs and executors were hurled from the same cart into the same hole together." The clergy prayed over the dying for divine intervention, but when they too began to die in huge numbers, every man became his own confessor.
"No priests can be found who are willing, whether out of zeal and devotion or in exchange for a stipend, to take on the pastoral carc of the sick.... Many people are dying without the Sacrament of Penance." Rome announced an emergency relaxation of canonical law, permitting the dying to confess aloud to God or to any person who would listen, "even to a woman."'
mortality rate, military, campaign,contaminate, sewer, infamous, contagious, plague, fatal, infested,
survive, swell, welt, antibiotic, and detect.