Bubonic Plague in America

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Yesterday I introduced criticisms that have been raised against Y. pestis causation of the Black Death and subsequent plague outbreaks. Today I'll discuss what I see as weaknesses in these criticisms, after the jump. Selective quoting and interpretation of evidence First and foremost, a big…
Despite its reputation as a scourge of antiquity, Yersinia pestis--the bacterium that causes bubonic plague--still causes thousands of human illnesses every year. In modern times, most of these occur in Africa, and to a lesser extent in Asia, though we have a handful of cases each year in the U.S…
Though there still may be some lingering doubt about the cause of the Black Death and subsequent outbreaks of plague, the pathogen behind the outbreaks that have taken place in the last 150 years or so is much less ambiguous. While Koch and Pasteur ushered in the golden age of microbiology, an…
As I noted last week, Shelley mentioned a topic that's been brought up here a few times in the comments section: alternative theories for causes of the Black Plague (the devastating plague that ravaged Europe beginning in ~1347 and eventually killed more than a third of the population). Though…

Thanks for the link to the plague post, much appreciated!

By Mutant Dragon (not verified) on 02 Jun 2011 #permalink

Just discovered your blog. I'm not in epidemiology--I'm in astronomy--but you make me want to go back in time and change my mind! Or at least split my time (impossible, just like going back in time).

Sarah, what a nice compliment. Mutant Dragon, my pleasure--great pair of posts. Looking forward to more!

One thing that is overlooked in this "problem" is the sheer stupidity of some people. As a long distance hiker, I've seen the signs by the NPS and USFS warning the populace not to feed wildlife. When in Yellowstone, I berated a couple for feeding the chipmunks ("but they're so cute" was the reply). I pointed out they also could carry plague or hantavirus.
Sure enough, the SF Chronicle Day In Pictures celebrates this stupidity. Even if you don't feed the animals, the animals don't know that fact. And tourons (tourists and morons) who feed them put everyone at risk by their behavior.
I told the ranger, she observed them feeding the animal, and then issued the standard $150 ticket. They may not fear the plague but they will fear a hit to their wallet.

By Onkel Bob (not verified) on 05 Jun 2011 #permalink