Back When 2/3 of Europe Was Killed

in StemSocial2 months ago



Plague doctor vector created by vectorpouch -

Back to the Middle Ages when a deadly infection spread between people and started to kill one after one until it approximately killed 25 million people! That infection was so bad, causing gangrene and blackening of various parts of the body, and so it's named Black Death, we are talking about the Plague! But what was the organism that caused this deadly disease, what are exactly the symptoms, are there any more cases? All those questions will be answered in the upcoming paragraphs.

The deadly microorganism

Yersinia pestis, an intracellular parasite carried by fleas that live on infected rodents that cause plague. Its optimal temperature for growth is 28 degrees, and preferably colder temperature compared to other microorganisms that require 36 or around it, as in the human body.

Talking about transmission, as we said, those fleas live on rodents, and they acquire Yersinia pestis through a blood meal from an infected rodent and the human gets infected by being bitten by these fleas or from direct contact with the infected rodent.


There are 3 types of plague which are (bubonic, septicemic and pneumonic) and today we are going to talk more about bubonic plague than others. It's called bubonic plague because when Y.pestis spreads to the lymph nodes it leads to their enlargement and this enlargement called buboes so that this disease is called as bubonic plague. And it might be transmitted to the lungs if untreated, leading to very high mortality rate (up to 90%).


The symptoms of plague include the following:

  • High fever, chills, and weakness.
  • Swollen lymph glands (buboes) caused by plague bacteria in bubonic plague. (These buboes are formed mainly in junctions)
  • Gangrene is one of the manifestations of plague, and it's due to the accumulation of debris in buboes.
  • hemorrhages in the skin from all the external body openings.


Bubonic plague can be diagnosed physically through the appearance of buboes in junctions. And can be confirmed through culture yet people who handle the specimen should be very careful since it's highly infectious.

Does it still exist?

Photo by Hubi .img on Unsplash

These days, sporadic infections still occur in some places like: US western states, and some in South America and Africa.

Prevention and Treatment

When it's about prevention, vaccination isn't really recommended unless for the people who are at very high risk (people who deal with specimen) formalin-killed vaccine is available is the vaccine used. Otherwise, the best way to prevent its spread is through spread the information between people about areas where it currently exists and providing them with the needed information on how to handle such disease.

For the treatment of plague, the most important thing is hospitalization and strict isolation, and for drugs, patients are given antibiotics such as, streptomycin and tetracycline that are highly effective.

In the end

In such disease we have to be careful the way we handle the patients because it gets scarier as much as it spreads, that's why reporting cases to WHO is mandatory.

Stay safe everyone, until next time.


General information (overview)
Yersinia Pestis
Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention


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