The epidemic was described by Samuel Pepys in his diaries in 1665 and by Daniel Defoe in 1722 in his A Journal of a Plague Year. Bubonic plague is the most common form of plague. It has also spread in Central Asia, Sicily. Pneumonic plague is the most rapidly developing and life-threatening form of plague. Antibiotic treatment for 7 days will protect people who have had direct, close contact with infected patients. The Three Great Pandemics, History of Tuberculosis. … They had a sudden fever, some when just roused from sleep, others while walking about, and others while otherwise engaged, without any regard to what they were doing. It then spread west to Alexandria and east to Gaza, Jerusalem and Antioch, then was carried on ships on the sea trading routes to both sides of the Mediterranean, arriving in Constantinople (now Istanbul) in the autumn of 541.12, 13. Journal of Military and Veterans’ Health (JMVH). It is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. The epidemic originated in Ethiopia in Africa and spread to Pelusium in Egypt in 540. Plague continued to occur in small epidemics throughout the world but a major outbreak of the pneumonic plague occurred in Europe and England in 1665 to 1666. Victims were too numerous to be buried and were stacked high in the city’s churches and city wall towers, their Christian doctrine preventing their disposal by cremation. Bubonic plague also has military significance and is listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a Category A bioterrorism agent.1. In the pandemics, the infected fleas were able to spread the plague over long distances as they were carried by rats and by humans travelling along trade routes at sea and overland, and also by infesting rice and wheat grain, clothing, and trade merchandise. It was manned by local peasants with checkpoints and quarantine stations to prevent infected people from crossing from eastern to western Europe.8, The leather costume of the plague doctors at Nijmegen, In the 15th and 16th centuries doctors wore a peculiar costume to protect themselves from the plague when they attended infected patients, first illustrated in a drawing by Paulus Furst in 1656 and later Jean-Jacques described a similar costume worn by the plague doctors at Nijmegen, an old Dutch town in Gelderland, in his 1721 work Treatise on the Plague. Pneumonic plague is one of several forms of plague. In 1894 it had reached Canton and then spread to Hong Kong. CDC is not responsible for Section 508 compliance (accessibility) on other federal or private website. In Madagascar in the mid-1990’s, a multi-drug resistant strain of the bacillus was identified15, 28. The Justinian Plague of 541 started in central Africa and spread to Egypt and the Mediterranean. Crops could not be harvested, travelling and trade became curtailed, and food and manufactured goods became short. If the disease spread to the lung through the blood, it caused an invariably fatal pneumonia, pneumonic plague, and in that form plague was directly transmissible from person to person. Yersinia pestis is a very pathogenic organism to both humans and animals and before antibiotics had a very high mortality rate. When infected, the proventriculus of the flea becomes blocked by a mass of bacteria. People were as much afraid they would suffer a spiritual death as they were a physical death since there were no clergy to perform burial rites: “Shrift there was none; churches and chapels were open, but neither priest nor penitents entered – all went to the charnelhouse. The plague continued in intermittent cycles in Europe into the mid-8th century and did not re-emerge as a major epidemic until the 14th century. Further major outbreaks occurred throughout Europe and the Middle East over the next 200 years – in Constantinople in the years 573, 600, 698 and 747, in Iraq, Egypt and Syria in the years 669, 683, 698, 713, 732 and 750 and Mesopotamia in 686 and 704. By 1430, Europe’s population was lower than it had been in 1290 and would not recover the pre-pandemic level until the 16th century.13, 21, In 1374 when another epidemic of the Black Death re-emerged in Europe, Venice instituted various public health controls such as isolating victims from healthy people and preventing ships with disease from landing at port. When bacteraemia followed, it caused haemorrhaging and necrosis of the skin rapidly followed by septicaemic shock and death, septicaemic plague. Pneumonic plague may also occur if a person with bubonic or septicemic plague is untreated and the bacteria spread to the lungs. A plague vaccine is not currently available for use in the United States. The term “Black Death” was not used until much later in history and in 1347 was simply known as “the pestilence” or “pestilentia”, and there are various explanations of the origin of the term. The pneumonia progresses for 2 to 4 days and may cause respiratory failure and shock.
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