The Bubonic plague
The symptoms for the Bubonic Plague are in an order. First the heart beats wildly as it tries to pump blood through swollen tissues. Next your nervous system starts to collapse into itself, causing very great pain and bizarre movements of the arms and legs. Next, as death neared, your mouth would gap open and your skin would blacken from internal bleeding. The end usually would come around the fifth day.
Other symptoms are high fever (between 101 and 105 degrees F), aching limbs and the vomiting of blood. In the beginning the blood is slimy and tinted. Then it becomes free-flowing and bright red. The most characteristic is the swelling of lymph nodes which also ads to the darkening of the skin. Some people even turn dark purple.
Did you know that there is a cycle of the Bubonic Plague? This is how it goes.
1 Fleas drink rat blood that carries bacteria 2 Bacteria multiply in flea’s gut
3 Gut clogged with bacteria
4 Flea bites a human and regurgitates blood into an open wound
5 Human is infected
The Bubonic Plague was used for war too. People put diseased rats or flies in other people’s water. It was also used for something else. The dead bodies of the victims of the Plague were shot at their enemies by catapult in hopes that the disease would spread.
About 850 years ago Physicians were pretty strange. They recommended holding a bouquet of sweet smelling herbs and flowers up to your nose to ward off the plague. Some say this practice was an inspiration for an old nursery rhyme. You might know it. It’s called Ring a ring o’ roses.
Back then it was a little different it went like this. Ring a ring o’ roses a pocket full of posies, atishoo, atishoo, we all fall down.
Ring a ring of roses was said to be a rash that often signaled infection. A pocket full of posies were the flowers people carried to sweeten the air. Atishoo was the sound of a sneeze, a common symptom of the disease. We all fall down meant that all of its victims had died.
Now for some death totals and dates. On October of 1347 the Bubonic Plague arrived in Sicily. Between February and May of 1349, 400 people a day died of the plague. In this same year over 50,000 Parisians died. That’s half of the Sicily’s population!
The plague has many preventive measures, such as sanitation, killing of rats, and prevention of the transport of rats in ships arriving from ports in which the disease is endemic, are effective in reducing the incidence of plague. Famine, which reduces resistance to the disease, results in a spread of the plague. Individuals who have contracted the disease are isolated, put to bed, and fed fluids and effortlessly digestible foods. Sedatives are used to reduce pain and quiet delirium. During World War II, scientists using sulfa drugs were able to produce cures of the plague; by and by, antibiotics, such as streptomycin and tetracyclines, were found to be more effective in controlling the disease.
Antibiotics have proved successful in treating nearly all cases of plague. However, in 1997 scientists encountered an alarming exception – a child in Madagascar who was infected with a strain of bubonic plague that was resistant to all the antibiotics normally used to fight this disease. The child recovered, but scientists fear that this strain of plague, if spread, could have serious public health consequences.