Living in Europe in the middle of the 1300’s would have been heartbreaking and awful. Not only were the living conditions very poor but there was an unknown disease that was wiping out a large percentage of European population. It is unimaginable the fear of wondering whether you or someone you loved was going to catch this deadly disease and no explanation would make a person feel safe from catching it or dying with it. The Europeans lived their lives as best they could, realizing that there was nothing they could do to stop this illness. They stood powerless against it waiting for their moment to come.
This unknown disease is known as the Bubonic Plague or the Black Death. It is a bacterial disease so lethal and so fast-spreading that it still causes people to worry about epidemics. Nowadays the disease can be successfully treated if caught early, but in the Middle Ages, when "elements and humors" were part of the medical process, catching the disease early was never an option. At a time when doctors diagnosed illnesses by the color of urine and treated patients by "bleeding" them, no one had a clue how to prevent, or cure the disease. The Pope (Clement VI) called for an inquiry to determine what was happening. Scholars assigned to brief him reached a less than scholarly conclusion mostly because at the time, and for many years later, physicians
believed that medicine and astrology were linked.
The plague was passed among rats by fleas. Fleas living on the rat‘s blood would eject the disease into the rat causing it to die quickly. When there were no rats left around, the flea would search for a new host, such as a human. When an infected flea bit the human the bacteria multiplies quickly causing death within a few days. When a person obtains this disease they can easily spread it among other humans by bacilli coughed or sneezed in to the air. The plague had struck other parts of the world before it was first reported in Europe.... [continues]
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