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The Middle Ages Black Death came to America: could the plague be dangerous again for the whole world?

The Middle Ages Black Death came to America: could the plague be dangerous again for the whole world? 1
Photo: Unsplash

The disease that once destroyed a quarter of the world’s population has returned as a man from New Mexico died from the bubonic plague. The “Black Death,” as it is called, raises fears among experts. 

A Lincoln Country man was hospitalized with a bacterial infection. Doctors helped him, but it didn’t work – he only got worse. As a result, he died. Doctors suggest that he could have become infected from rodents – infected fleas passed from them to him and bit him. This is the first death from the plague in the United States in four years.

State doctors are “working” with local residents, telling them about the risk of infection and methods of transmission of the disease.

“This tragic incident serves as a clear reminder of the threat posed by this ancient disease and underscores the need for increased public awareness and proactive measures to prevent its spread,” the State Department of Health said.

Bubonic plague is a form of plague caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, which is carried by fleas that live on rats. They are capable of transferring to humans and infecting them. The disease is a particularly dangerous infectious disease. The bubonic plague got its name because of the buboes – inflamed and enlarged lymph nodes.

Swollen lymph nodes are one of the symptoms of bubonic plague. Most often these are lymph nodes in the groin area, less often – axillary ones. Infection is also accompanied by fever, chills and temperature, body aches, as well as severe intoxication (nausea and vomiting).

The incubation period is from two to six days, but sometimes it can be longer – up to 12 days. If the bubonic plague is complicated by pneumonia, it can also spread by airborne droplets (pneumonic plague). When transitioning to the septic form (usually in severe cases, shortly before death), you can become infected by touching the patient’s body.

Until the end of the 19th century, the plague was not treated; the mortality rate was 95%. Afterwards, quarantines began to be used to avoid the spread of the disease. The vaccine was created at the end of the 19th century from fever-killed plague bacilli. Another version of the vaccine was with live rods. But the vaccine only provides immunity for a year.

Plague patients are treated with antibiotics, antimicrobial agents, and antiplague serum. If treatment is started early, the recovery rate is high.

Laboratory testing is needed to confirm the diagnosis of plague; there are also specialized rapid tests.

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There have been several plague epidemics throughout history. It killed more than 12 million people in India between 1898 and 1963. 

The Middle Ages Black Death came to America: could the plague be dangerous again for the whole world? 2

Bubonic plague has been used as a biological weapon since ancient times. So, in the 14th century, during the siege of the city of Kafa, the Tatar khan Janibek threw the corpses of people who died from the plague behind the walls. Some of the townspeople fled from the outbreak of the epidemic on a boat to Venice, from where the plague began to spread throughout Europe, destroying millions of lives. 

The famous Japanese “Unit 731” also developed bioweapons, conducting experiments with a strain of plague and other diseases and planning to send them later to opponents in balloons.

According to the World Health Organization, between 2010 and 2015, 3,248 cases of plague were reported worldwide , including 584 deaths. Plague epidemics occurred in Africa, Asia and South America, and the most endemic countries are Madagascar, Congo and Peru.


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