Sunday , February 25 2018
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The plague: What you don’t know could kill you

The plague. A disease that many connect with the times of the renaissance and before, a horrible disease that occurred hundreds of years ago, wiping out 1/3 of the worlds populations. Of course, many see this as a disease of the past. Something stuck in history that was horrible but will stay buried among those who met their untimely fate. This however, is not true.

Within the last month a young boy became ill and was admitted to hospital where it was later determined by staff that the boy had contracted the plague. The child had been camping in Yosemite park when he began showing signs of sickness. the child’s age and name are not being released but it is believed that he is making a recovery.

Not many people now too much about this ancient disease. The plague is caused by a bacteria known as yersinia pestis. This bacteria is caught by fleas and it does something to their stomach that causes them to never feel full and continually bite its victim, spreading along the disease. This disease, normally passed on to rodents, is then carried by the new host until it comes into contact with humans, where the result is usually death.

Over the last 2,000 years the plague has come in large waves, killing hundreds of thousands of people during its rein. Then, it disappears for a while only to return later when people least expect it. In past centuries, people died in such large volumes because of the conditions that they had to face as well. On top of the lack of health care, people were dealing with flooding, famine, and even during some centuries, the on set of the ice age that destroyed crops and animals on farms.

The story today is very different. Here in North America we have the means to fight the disease as well as favourable conditions that just didn’t occur during the times when the plague raged.

In the US this year, only two people this year have been heard of dying from this disease and last year there were four others. It is a very rare disease and hard to come into contact with but it does still exist and it is still a concern when around rodents.

Officials are giving people the warning of not feeding rodents such as squirrels or chipmunks and when camping to avoid areas where rodents may being burrowing. It is also a good precaution to taken when hiking to have your pants tucked into boots to avoid any accidental contact with fleas.

 

About Teigan Goldsmth

Teigan Goldsmth
Teigan is a 3rd year History major with an English minor and a passion for writing and learning about the past. She loves to read and learn all that she can about the world.