Black Death: World Famous Ancient Disease in the Human History

Black death caused lot of death which wiped almost half of European and American population during the 14th century. The dreaded epidemic diseases have the same symptoms as the bubonic plague characterized by swollen and painful wounds.


Black Death almost wiped out almost half of the European and American population during the period between 1348 and 1350. The epidemic spread rapidly and quickly that it almost impossible to halt without taking notes of the earlier intervention. The disease quickly spread between neighboring countries wherein 95% of the population almost wiped out resulting in increase death toll rates. It claims the lives of 25 million people including almost ? of the European population alone targeting anyone irregardless of age and sex. The spread of Black Death were associated with lot of beliefs including superstitious and religious involvement. Most people think the epidemic is brought by the curse and anger from God blaming too the Jewish as the one who poison the well. In august 1349, almost 2,000 Jewish communities were executed at the same time by 1351, 60 to 150 smaller Jewish communities had been destroyed. While others seek explanation through resorting in astrology, fortune teller and others signs such as earthquakes with the hope of getting an answer to the solution of the mechanism of the epidemic problem. Health care providers including monks were greatly hit by the infection as they care toward the sick whereas those who live in the isolated areas suffered less.

What’s this?

Black Death is considered as the deadliest 14th century ancient epidemic diseases in human history which posed a lot of threat to human extinction. The disease spread so quickly reducing the world population from 450 million to between 350 and 375 million in 1400. The disease is caused by bubonic plague from the bacterium Yersinias pestis from fleas which reside on the body of the rats. An infected sailor or traveler believe to had brought the diseases from Central Asia until it reached Cramea by 1346 thereby spreading entirely between Mediterranean and Europe lasting 150 years. By the end of the 19th century the plague was eliminated after thoroughly health authorities’ massive camping on cleanliness instruction on proper hygiene and sanitation to get rid of the infection.

How is the Disease spread?

Black Death is caused by bubonic plague which cause swollen gland to the infected patients. The Black Death got its term when a person untreated could die within 2 to 6 days without treatment. The disease is spread through droplet or through contact with an infected person. The main plague carriers were traced from fleas residing on the black rats, flies, bedbugs and other insects. It started as small swollen wounds then develops into large wounds known as buboes seen mostly on armpit and groin where the hemorrhages appear visible on the skin. The bubonic plague enters skin with open the wounds through lymphatics drainage becoming more vulnerable to infection.

What are the symptoms?

The symptom is similar to Pneumonia although the sputum discharges is bloodier and less tenacious. Black Death symptoms are almost similar to bubonic plague with the manifestation of swollen gland or buboes commonly appear in the groin and armpit which ooze blood and pus when opened. If untreated, of those that contract the bubonic plague, 4 out of 5 die within eight days. The symptoms were the following;

• Smooth, painful lymph-glad swelling or ("bubo"), generally found at site of initial infection• Acute fever and coughing

• Nausea, vomiting and urination of blood

• Chills

• General malaise,

• Headaches, painful joints

• Infection of the lungs and others respiratory problems

• Freckle like spots and rashes

• Seizures

• Gastrointestinal upset

• Delirium

• Heavy breathing

• Extreme pain caused by swollen skin wounds

What is the treatment?

It is recommended for patients to take high caloric fluids diet until the acute stage pass. With recovery the patient should be provided with nourishing diet to restore the loss strength. The buboes should be treated with antiseptics and dress as needed. The fever may be lower by application of sponge bath which agreeable to the patient.

The Incubation Period: Vary and the infected person is quarantine to avoid direct spread through contact with sputum discharges.

The Diet: High caloric fluids should be supervised during acute stage and light food introduce as convalesce set in.

What is the drug of choice?

Streptomycin and Tetracycline antibiotic as the initial drugs used in moderate dosage are highly recommended. Sulfadiazine should be used at the same time observing the urinary output of the patient.

What is the Prevention?

Require High Sanitation Campaign to prevent the spread of epidemic by killing rats and rat’s prevention. The patients need to be isolate to prevent further spread of infection. Disinfection of all the discharges of the patient is a must. The nurse or caregiver should dress appropriately with enough protection such as wearing the proper gown, mask, hair cover, and including goggles. Maintaining cleanliness, drying, sunlight, heat and used of germicide could do a lot of help in disease elimination.


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