Disease in the Middle Ages

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Disease in the Middle Ages

There were more than 13 different diseases and illnesses ranging from rashes and boils to Leprosy and the Plague in the lifetime of the middle ages. As more people came into communities the more the diseases formed and spread around. Also these were part of an everyday life for men and women in that time period. Usually when people think of the Middle Ages they automatically think of the Plague, but there are so much more than just that like Leprosy, Typhus, and Malaria. But “the worst was Leprosy, a disease both horrible and horrible catching.” (Donald J. Sobol 56)

Leprosy was highly feared upon in the Middle Ages. “When news that a leaper was approaching caused people to hide in panic.” (Donald J. Sobal 56) The symptoms of Leprosy are slowly growing patches on skin that doesn’t itch or hurt. The patch may be discolored from surrounding skin and are never white, and not scaly except during a reaction. Leprosy is spread by coming in contact with other people. The cause of this disease was unknown in the middle ages and there was no cure for it. When looking for early signs look for pale patches without a clear edge that does no itch for hurt on the face, arms, back, bottom side, and legs. When people got this they were put in special houses called lazars named after St. Lazarus, the saint of the lepers.

Second is Typhus. They symptoms of typhus are fever that could reach to 102°F and a headache. It is caused by Rickettsia bacteria which are spread by rodents such as mice and rats. It spreads to people through mites, fleas and head, body, and pubic lice. They attacked people with poor hygiene like armies in the fields. There are three different forms of Typhus.

Therefore they are Epidemic Typhus, Endemic Typhus, and Scrub Typhus. Symptoms of Epidemic Typhus are headache, fever, chills, exhaustion, and rash. It was common in crowded ships and prisons, that’s how it got its nicknames, prison fever and ship...
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