China Black Plague

Ruhee Merchant, Online Editor

     In the 14th century alone, 50 million people died due to the Black Plague. The Plague is inflicted by bacteria and transmitted through flea bites and infected animals and can develop into one of the three potential forms. While the Bubonic plague causes swollen lymph nodes, septicemic plague infects the blood, and the pneumonic plague infects the lungs. The Bubonic Plague was extremely widespread in the 1300’s and killed around one-third of Europe’s population. It has not been eradicated to this day, and is currently categorized as a re-emerging disease according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In the United States itself, there are around seven cases of the plague each year. 

     According to CNN, within China, doctors have diagnosed their fourth case of the black plague in this month alone. Despite the sense of terror surrounding the plague, it is treatable with a range of modern antibiotics, however, they work at maximum efficiency when they are given promptly. Untreated plague is fatal in around half of the cases; untreated bubonic plague for example, quickly progresses into pneumonic plague which results in severe cases of pneumonia after the bacteria spreads to the lungs. A recent case concerns a 55 year old male who caught the plague from eating a wild rabbit. According to the local health agency, the man is receiving treatment and those who have been in contact with him are quarantined and have not displayed any symptoms. 

     Through taking simple preventative measures, one can decrease their susceptibility to getting the plague. They can eliminate nesting places for rodents around living areas, report sick or dead animals and prevent interactions with them. Lastly, people should be sure to use insect repellent that consists of DEET (diethyltoluamide) to prevent flea bites and treat dogs and cats for fleas regularly. They should stay away from sleeping with pets as well. 

     The plague is a versatile disease that can make life very adverse and pose difficult challenges to circumvent. Though the plague is re-emerging, increased awareness of preventative measures can make society less likely to experience the disastrous effects of this treacherous disease.