Share Your Story Plague is a bacterial disease that is infamous for causing millions of deaths due to a pandemic widespread epidemic during the Middle Ages in Europe, peaking in the 14th century. Many historical references describe the illness, which has been referred to as the Black Death or a "pestilence in the air. The third, or modern, pandemic started in China in the 19th century and spread to port cities all over the world. More recently, the World Health Organization reported an outbreak of plague in Madagascar in November and again from August through October 30,with a total of 1, confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of plague, including deaths according to Madagascar health officials.
Black Death migration The plague disease, caused by Yersinia pestisis enzootic commonly present in populations of fleas carried by ground rodentsincluding marmotsin various areas including Central AsiaKurdistanWestern AsiaNorth India and Uganda.
In the s, a large number of natural disasters and plagues led to widespread famine, starting inwith a deadly plague arriving soon after. After a protracted siege, during which the Mongol army under Jani Beg was suffering from the disease, the army catapulted infected corpses over the city walls of Kaffa to infect the inhabitants.
The Genoese traders fled, taking the plague by ship into Sicily and the south of Europe, whence it spread north. European outbreak The seventh year after it began, it came to England and first began in the towns and ports joining on the seacoasts, in Dorsetshire, where, as in other counties, it made the country quite void of inhabitants so that there were almost none left alive.
But at length it came to Gloucester, The background of the infamous bubonic plaque black death even to Oxford and to London, and finally it spread over all England and so wasted the people that scarce the tenth person of any sort was left alive.
The plague reached Sicily in Octobercarried by twelve Genoese galleys,  and rapidly spread all over the island. Galleys from Kaffa reached Genoa and Venice in Januarybut it was the outbreak in Pisa a few weeks later that was the entry point to northern Italy.
Towards the end of January, one of the galleys expelled from Italy arrived in Marseille. The plague was somewhat less common in parts of Europe that had smaller trade relations with their neighbours, including the majority of the Basque Countryisolated parts of Belgium and the Netherlands, and isolated alpine villages throughout the continent.
The disease repeatedly wiped out the rodent carriers so that the fleas died out until a new outbreak from Central Asia repeated the process. The outbreaks have been shown to occur roughly 15 years after a warmer and wetter period in areas where plague is endemic in other species such as gerbils.
As infected rodents infected new rodents, the disease spread across the region, entering also from southern Russia.
By autumnthe plague reached Alexandria in Egypt, through the port's trade with Constantinopleand ports on the Black Sea. Duringthe disease travelled eastward to Gazaand north along the eastern coast to cities in LebanonSyria and Palestineincluding AshkelonAcreJerusalemSidonDamascusHomsand Aleppo.
In —, the disease reached Antioch. The city's residents fled to the north, but most of them ended up dying during the journey. During the same year, records show the city of Mawsil Mosul suffered a massive epidemic, and the city of Baghdad experienced a second round of the disease.
Signs and symptoms A hand showing how acral gangrene of the fingers due to bubonic plague causes the skin and flesh to die and turn black An inguinal bubo on the upper thigh of a person infected with bubonic plague.
Swollen lymph glands buboes often occur in the neck, armpit and groin inguinal regions of plague victims.
Contemporary accounts of the plague are often varied or imprecise. The most commonly noted symptom was the appearance of buboes or gavocciolos in the groin, the neck and armpits, which oozed pus and bled when opened.
In men and women alike it first betrayed itself by the emergence of certain tumours in the groin or armpits, some of which grew as large as a common apple, others as an egg From the two said parts of the body this deadly gavocciolo soon began to propagate and spread itself in all directions indifferently; after which the form of the malady began to change, black spots or livid making their appearance in many cases on the arm or the thigh or elsewhere, now few and large, now minute and numerous.
As the gavocciolo had been and still was an infallible token of approaching death, such also were these spots on whomsoever they showed themselves. Most victims died two to seven days after initial infection. Freckle-like spots and rashes,  which could have been caused by flea-biteswere identified as another potential sign of the plague.
Some accounts, like that of Lodewijk Heyligenwhose master the Cardinal Colonna died of the plague innoted a distinct form of the disease that infected the lungs and led to respiratory problems  and is identified with pneumonic plague.
It is said that the plague takes three forms. In the first people suffer an infection of the lungs, which leads to breathing difficulties. Whoever has this corruption or contamination to any extent cannot escape but will die within two days.
This species of flea is the primary vector for the transmission of Yersinia pestisthe organism responsible for bubonic plague in most plague epidemics.
Both male and female fleas feed on blood and can transmit the infection. Oriental rat flea Xenopsylla cheopis infected with the Yersinia pestis bacterium which appears as a dark mass in the gut. The foregut proventriculus of this flea is blocked by a Y.The Black Death, a pandemic of both bubonic and pneumonic plague that was carried on shipboard from the Levant, reached Provence in , ravaged most of France in , and faded out only in Nothing worked to check the disease in populations without immunity—neither bonfires.
The Black Death, also known as the Great Plague, the Black Plague, or the Plague, was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 75 to million people in Eurasia and peaking in Europe from to During the s, the infamous Black Death, or bubonic plague, killed as many as 20 million people.
Its victims suffered some of the same symptoms the Roman historian Procopius had described when writing about the earlier plague: fevers, delirium and mysterious black .
When the Black Death believed to be caused by bubonic plague hit Europe in the s, it claimed an estimated 25 million lives, then as much as 60 percent of the continent’s total population. But while this outbreak of the plague has remained the most well-known, the disease had actually been wreaking havoc on humankind for about 2, years before that point — or so scientists thought.
The bubonic plague is caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis and is characterized by chills, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and the formation of black boils in the armpits, neck, and groin.
The Black Death had three manifestations -- bubonic plague, pneumonic plague, and septicaemic plague. The bubonic plague had a thirty to seventy-five percent mortality rate.
This manifestation of the disease was characterized by the characteristic swelling of lymph nodes (buboes) along the .