Bubonic Plague was known as the Black Death in the Middle Ages! It surfaces occasionally…


A nursery rhyme, “Ring a ring of roses”, describes the symptoms of the Plague…





A teenager in the US dies from a disease most people thought had disappeared in the Middle Ages – the bubonic plague.

Taylor Gaes died after suffering from a rare case of the plague.

If you, like the rest of us, thought the plague had disappeared with the Middle Ages, gone the way of the Knights Templar and the feudal system; permit Newsmaker to disabuse you.

This month, 16-year-old Colorado student Taylor Gaes had a fever with aches and pains. His parents thought it was the flu. Two days later, he woke up coughing blood and was dead before they got to the hospital. State authorities this week revealed the shocking news that Gaes died from a blood borne strain of the plague, aka the Black Death, a vicious scourge of a disease that wiped out more than half of Europe’s population in the 1300s.

Evidently, you can still get it on a ranch in Colorado in 2015.

Rural Colorado does not seem to have much in common with the packed slums of mediaeval Europe where the disease once thrived. But it has become one of the last bastions of the plague. The local prairie dogs are to blame. Those gopher-like critters that look like a squirrel without a tail.

The plague is caused by a nasty bacteria, yersinia pestis, carried by rodents and transmitted to humans by their fleas. Gaes probably got bitten by a flea off a sick prairie dog that came onto his parents’ property, Larimer County health officials said. Because he did not have the common symptom of swollen lymph nodes, no one realised how sick the poor kid was until it was too late.

Until Congressman Darrell Issa, a California Republican, learns how to pronounce Ebola and the president gets up some kind of useful policy (which do you think might come first?), I thought I would stay home and read the diaries of Samuel Pepys, who survived the Great Plague.

“Great fears of the sickenesse here in the City, it being said that two or three houses are already shut up. God preserve us,” he wrote, just before heading to bed on April 30, 1665.

A well-paid naval administrator living in London, Pepys (1633-1703) started his diary in 1660 and kept at it for 10 years, a time of dramatic change, starting with the Restoration.

As he kept writing, “the sickenesse” turned into the Great Plague that ravaged London, killing about 100,000 people.

“The town grows very sickly, and people to be afeared of it — there is dying this last week of the plague 112, from 43 the week before — one in Fanchurch street and one in Broadstreete by the Treasurer’s office,” he writes on June 15. Over the next weeks, he noted dramatic increases, and sent the wife out of town.

Spooky Doctors

Spooky plague doctors began making their rounds encased in long heavy coats. They breathed through beak-like masks that held herbal concoctions to thwart pestilential air. They knew enough not to touch their patients and lifted their garments with long sticks.

Anyone who showed a bubo on the groin was encouraged to say their prayers. Bubonic plague usually buried its victims within four or five days. Maybe 20 percent survived the disease, which we now know is caused by infected fleas that hitch rides on rats and other small rodents.

City officials moved quickly. Houses were boarded up with a watchman posted outside. Desperate souls called from windows for bread as they starved to death; others escaped out the back door. But the policy probably reduced the rate of infection.

Great Fire

Slowly, the infections decreased and the city rattled back to life. Then on Sept. 2, 1666, Pepys was awakened by a servant. He looked out a window and saw the sky turning orange. With barely a year’s rest, the Great Plague segued into the Great Fire.

Raging three days, the conflagration destroyed some 13,000 houses and most of the medieval and foul center of London. There’s always a silver lining: The fire fried the rats that bore the fleas, reducing new outbreaks of plague and other diseases.




Chinese authorities lift nine-day quarantine in parts of city, imposed after man died of bubonic plague:

BEIJING (AP) — A nine-day quarantine imposed on parts of a northern Chinese city where a man died of bubonic plague has been lifted, China’s official news agency reported Thursday.

A total of 151 people were under observation in the city of Yumen in Gansu province after authorities determined they had come in contact with a man who died of the plague July 16, the Xinhua News Agency reported. It said none of them had reported symptoms of the disease.





What were the symptoms of the plague?

This is best summed up in a popular nursery rhyme of the time:

“Ring-a-ring of roses,
A pocketful of posies,
Attischo, Attischo,
We all fall down.”

The first comment in the poem was a reference to red circular blotches that were found on the skin. These could also develop into large pus filled sacs found primarily under the armpits and in the groin. These buboes were very painful to the sufferer.

The second line refers to the belief that the plague was spread by a cloud of poisonous gas that was colourless (known as a miasma). This miasma could only be stopped, so it was believed, if you carried flowers with you as the smell of the flowers would overpower the germs carried by the miasma. There was also another ‘benefit’ to carrying sweet smelling flowers. A victim’s breath started to go off as the disease got worse. The flowers perfume would have covered up this unpleasantness.

The final symptom was a sneezing fit that was promptly followed by death. Some of the victims did not get as far as this stage presumably as their lives were so poor that their bodies were even less able to cope with the disease. For some, a swift death was merciful.



“A pocket Full of Posies.”
The Plague Doctor would wear a leather or wooden mask with sweet smelling flowers and herbs stuffed into its elongated “Nose” or “Beak”. The belief was that the Plague infection was carried by the smell and prevention of inhaling the smell would protect the doctor from the sickness…
The Nursery Ryme “Ring-a ring-a Rosies” refers to the Plague. The rose coloured rings being the wheel shaped open sores or Bubos which appeared on the skin as a first sign of illness.


  • Symptoms of bubonic plague generally appear within two to seven days and include:
    • fever and chills.
    • headache.
    • muscle pain.
    • general weakness.
    • seizures.

The Plague: Types, Causes & Symptoms – Healthline



If a flea has the bacteria and bites your cat, you can get the bacteria from that cat, or from the flea when it bites you!

If you have the disease, you can pass it on to your wife  or child or friend when you come in contact with them! How? When droplets from you (when you sneeze!) get onto them. Or when they come in contact with your wound.

Bubonic plague is a bacterial infection best known for the Black Death, a virulent epidemic that killed tens of millions of people in 14th-century Europe.

China seals parts of a city after bubonic plague claims one life |

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Video: Bubonic Plague Eats Man Alive | Monsters Inside Me

Video: Man Gets The Plague From His Cat


The 38-year-old victim from the city of Yumen in Gansu province was infected by a marmot, a wild rodent, last week.


151 people who came into direct contact with the victim have also been placed in quarantine and are being analysed by epidemic prevention teams deployed around the city.


Video: City cordoned off after bubonic plague death

This was in 2012. Girl’s life was saved. She got bubonic plague from a half-eaten squirrel.

This video is dated Dec 14, 2013

Video: Pandemic! Bubonic plague ‘worse than Black Death’ kills 39 in Madagascar.

Bubonic plague is a bacterial infection best known for the Black Death, a virulent epidemic that killed tens of millions of people in 14th-century Europe. Primarily an animal illness, it is extremely rare in humans.


Bubonic plague infection causes tiny blood vessels in the hands and fingers to clog up and cut off circulation. Without blood, the flesh dies and turns black (called “gangrene”). This is why in the Middle Ages bubonic plague was called “the Black Death.”(http://rarediseases.about.com/od/infectiousdiseases/ig/Pictures-of-Bubonic-Plague/hand-gangrene.htm)

“We know the bacterium Y. pestis has jumped from rodents into humans throughout history and rodent reservoirs of plague still exist today in many parts of the world,” noted Dave Wagner, an associate professor in the Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics at Northern Arizona University.

It is now in China! One is dead, 151 are quarantined, and the whole town of Yumen in Gansu province is sealed off.


China ‘seals off’ town after man dies of bubonic plague

A Chinese town has been sealed off and 151 people placed in quarantine since last week after a man died of bubonic plague, state media said Tuesday.

The 30,000 people living in Yumen in the northwestern province of Gansu are not being allowed to leave, and police at roadblocks on its perimeter are telling motorists to find alternative routes, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) said.

Other reports said that earlier this month the 38-year-old victim had found a dead marmot, a small furry animal which lives on grasslands and is related to the squirrel.

He chopped it up to feed his dog but developed a fever the same day. He was taken to hospital after his condition worsened and died last Wednesday.

“The city has enough rice, flour and oil to supply all its residents for up to one month,” CCTV added.

“Local residents and those in quarantine are all in stable condition.”


Scientists say the Black Death ‘could happen again’


Pieter Bruegel’s The Triumph of Death (c. 1562)

An international team of researchers has discovered that two of the deadliest pandemics in history, the Plague of Justinian and the Black Plague, were caused by strains of the same plague. They warn that mutated — or even bioengineered — versions of the bacteria could lead to future outbreaks.

The culprit is Yersinia pestis, a bacterium that can infect humans and other animals. Scientists now suspect that separate and independent emergences of this bacterium have been responsible for some of history’s worst pandemics. And it may not be done yet.

During the sixth century AD, this bacterium caused the Plague of Justinian, killing between 30 and 50 million people — virtually half of the world’s population at the time. It spread across Asia, North Africa, Arabia, and Europe before mysteriously petering out.

But it would eventually return. Some 800 years later it re-emerged as the Black Death, a blight that killed 50 million Europeans over a four year period from 1347 to 1351 — an astounding figure, to be sure. It’s a death rate that averages out to 34,245 mortalities per day.

“We know the bacterium Y. pestis has jumped from rodents into humans throughout history and rodent reservoirs of plague still exist today in many parts of the world,” noted Dave Wagner, an associate professor in the Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics at Northern Arizona University.




  1. Health

Bubonic Plague Pictures: Boy with Plague


Updated February 13, 2009


After the incubation period of 2 to 6 days, symptoms of bubonic plague appear, including severe malaise, headache, shaking chills, fever and pain and swelling in the lymph nodes. This boy has a swollen lymph node, called a “bubo,” in his left armpit.

Bubonic Plague Pictures: Norway Rat


Updated February 13, 2009


The Norway rat is very common in cities as well as rural areas. It usually lives close to humans and may carry fleas infected with bubonic plague bacteria. The plague is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected flea.

 Bubonic Plague Pictures: Neck Bubo


Updated February 13, 2009


After the incubation period of 2 to 6 days, symptoms of bubonic plague appear, including severe malaise, headache, shaking chills, fever and pain and swelling in the lymph nodes. The swollen lymph nodes are called “buboes.”



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