The Recent Plague Pandemic

Staff Writer: Amanda Lloyd

 

Almost every history class at Woodstock High School teaches students about the plague in one way or another. The Bubonic Plague (also known as the black death) caused over 50 million deaths in the mid 14th century. The black plague is a bacterial illness caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis, it spread through contact with fleas and contact with people or animals that were infected with the plague.

 

Once a person was infected with the black plague it was only a matter of days before they passed away.

 

Those who were infected were often locked inside their own homes with limited resources to prevent the further spread of the disease.

 

There were even doctors who specialized in treating those who had been infected with the plague. They would wear masks with bird like beaks where they would store herbs and flowers, at the time people believed that the plague spread though scent so they thought that by having herbs or good smelling items on them at all times they would be protected.

 

The doctors wore long cloaks with gloves, at the time they did not know that their outfits were the main reason they didn’t get infected, almost all of their skin was covered which prevented the fleas from biting them. They also carried around a long wooden stick which was used to keep people away from them and prod at the infected to see if they were still responsive. This allowed them to not have direct contact with many people which also kept them from contracting the plague.

 

 

PLAQUE DOC

The plague ended around the year 1350, before coming back in the mid 1600’s. This was the last major outbreak of the Bubonic plague.

 

In San Francisco, from 1900-1904, yet another plague outbreak occurred. This outbreak infected 121 people, with 119 deaths. According to the Public Health Association of LA County in California, the plague can be spread by flea bites, direct contact with infected animals and even from pets. All of the plague outbreaks in California have occurred in the mountains, coast and plateaus.

 

CALI INFECT

Photo credit: Public Health Association of LA County. Pictured above are the areas effected by the plague in California.

The Public Health Association of LA County also has a list of animals to be cautious around as there is a chance they could spread the plague. The list includes California ground squirrels, chipmunks, wood rats, mice, marmots, rabbits and many carnivores including coyotes, badgers, bears and grey fox.

 

The Public Health Association of LA County also includes ways to protect your families from the plague, and even has a list of the symptoms of the plague.

 

GOPHER

Photo credit: Getty Images. Pictured in the image above is a marmot just like the one the couple ate before contracting the plague.



Near the middle of 2019 a couple in a remote area of China were infected with the plague after eating marmot, they were later quarantined. For a while one was in critical condition and the other was in stable condition, but after a few days the both tragically ended up dying.

 

More recently there was a plague outbreak in China, as of November 21, 2019, only three people have died with at least 28 people being infected. The first man who contracted the disease was a 55-year-old Mongolian hunter, according to many sources he contracted the disease after eating a wild rabbit he caught. He contracted the disease on November 5, and it spread from there.

 

The hunter who had first been infected was taken almost 200 miles away from his home to Beijing to be treated.

 

None of the citizens who had been infected with the Bubonic plague had shown any symptoms of being ill, not even a fever.

 

I went around the school and asked people from my classes their opinions on the recent plague outbreaks.

 

“I think it’s really weird that we are still having plague outbreaks today, especially since it has been been a few hundred years since the first epidemic.” – Merixtell Camacho-Aispuro (sophomore)

 

“The fact that the plague is still around is shocking to me, it’s honestly kind of scary that there is still a chance that someone I know could get infected by the plague, even though it’s a small chance it is still really scary.” – Kaetlin Bunner (sophomore)

 

“I had no idea the plague was still around today, I thought the plague went away hundreds of years ago.” – Allison Mascitti (sophomore)

 

The World Health Organization reports that from 2010-2015 around 3,000 people have been infected with the Bubonic Plague worldwide, most of which were cured, with only 584 deaths.

 

This medieval disease has plagued the world for centuries, even though we have a cure for the plague it still effects hundreds of people each year around the world.

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