Tag Archive: Middle Ages


Earth Watch Report  –  Biological Hazards

File:Symptoms of bubonic plague.svg

Image Source : Wikimedia.Org

Author Mikael Häggström

 

File:Xenopsylla chepsis (oriental rat flea).jpg

 

Male Xenopsylla cheopis (oriental rat flea) engorged with blood. This flea is the primary vector of plague in most large plague epidemics in Asia, Africa, and South America. Both male and female fleas can transmit the infection.

Image Source  :  Wikimedia.Org

Author   Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

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Biological Hazard Madagascar Sofia Region, Mandritsara Damage level Details

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Biological Hazard in Madagascar on Wednesday, 11 December, 2013 at 04:22 (04:22 AM) UTC.

Description
A deadly outbreak of the bubonic plague is running rampant on the island of Madagascar, medical experts have confirmed. Tests established the disease was responsible for the deaths of at least 20 villagers in the northwestern town of Mandritsara. The island nation last year recorded the world’s highest number of plague-related casualties, with 60 lives claimed by the flea-borne disease. Bubonic plague – also known as the Black Death – wiped out an estimated 25 million people in Europe during the Middle Ages but there have been few instances reported in recent years. Health officials are investigating the cause of the outbreak, thought to have originated in prisons with a prevalence of rats that carry the disease. The Pasteur Institute said towns and cities faced increased risk of infection as ongoing political crises took its toll on living conditions. It is hoped a second round of presidential elections on December 20 will end the political deadlock.
Biohazard name: Plague (bubonic, human)
Biohazard level: 4/4 Hazardous
Biohazard desc.: Viruses and bacteria that cause severe to fatal disease in humans, and for which vaccines or other treatments are not available, such as Bolivian and Argentine hemorrhagic fevers, H5N1(bird flu), Dengue hemorrhagic fever, Marburg virus, Ebola virus, hantaviruses, Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, and other hemorrhagic or unidentified diseases. When dealing with biological hazards at this level the use of a Hazmat suit and a self-contained oxygen supply is mandatory. The entrance and exit of a Level Four biolab will contain multiple showers, a vacuum room, an ultraviolet light room, autonomous detection system, and other safety precautions designed to destroy all traces of the biohazard. Multiple airlocks are employed and are electronically secured to prevent both doors opening at the same time. All air and water service going to and coming from a Biosafety Level 4 (P4) lab will undergo similar decontamination procedures to eliminate the possibility of an accidental release.
Symptoms:
Status: confirmed

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The Irish Times

Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar

Confirmation of rodent-born disease follows Red Cross warning that island country is at risk of plague epidemic

Last year about 60 people died of plague in Madagascar, the highest number globally.Last year about 60 people died of plague in Madagascar, the highest number globally.

Thu, Dec 12, 2013, 01:01

Once feared as the Black Death, the rodent-borne disease that wiped out one-third of the world’s population in the Middle Ages, bubonic plague has killed 20 villagers in Madagascar in one of the worst outbreaks globally in recent years, health experts have confirmed.

The confirmation that bubonic plague was responsible for the deaths last week near the northwestern town of Mandritsara follows a warning in October from the International Committee of the Red Cross that the island nation was at risk of a plague epidemic.

The Pasteur Institute of Madagascar revealed on Tuesday that tests taken from bodies in the village last week showed they had died of the bubonic plague. The institute said it was concerned the disease could spread to towns and cities where living standards have declined since a coup in 2009.

The deaths are doubly concerning, because the outbreak occurred both outside the island’s normal plague season, which runs from July to October, and apparently at a far lower elevation than usual – suggesting it might be spreading.

Read More Here

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Bubonic plague killed 20 villagers in Madagascar, health experts confirm

Announcement of one of worst outbreaks in years raises fears that disease could spread to towns and cities
Bubonic plague bacteria

Bacteria that cause bubonic plague. The disease is spread by Xenopsylla cheopis fleas, whose main host is the black rat. Photograph: Rocky Mountain Laboratories/AP

Once feared as the Black Death – the rodent-borne disease that wiped out a third of the world’s population in the Middle Ages – bubonic plague has killed 20 villagers in Madagascar in one of the worst outbreaks globally in recent years, health experts have confirmed.

The confirmation that bubonic plague was responsible for the deaths last week near the north-western town of Mandritsara follows a warning in October from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) that the island nation was at risk of a plague epidemic.

The Pasteur Institute of Madagascar revealed on Tuesday that tests taken from bodies in the village last week showed that they had died of bubonic plague. The institute added it was concerned the disease could spread to towns and cities where living standards have declined since a coup in 2009.

The deaths are doubly concerning because the outbreak occurred both outside the island’s normal plague season, which runs from July to October, and apparently at a far lower elevation than usual – suggesting it might be spreading.

Bubonic plague, which has disappeared from Europe and large parts of the globe, is spread by bites from plague-carrying rat fleas – Xenopsylla cheopis – whose main host is the black rat. In Europe the threat of the Black Death pandemic, which appeared with black rats brought by merchant ships from Asia, eventually died out as black rats were displaced by brown rats and health and hygiene improved.

 

Read More Here

 

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DISASTER MANAGEMENT

Fire, flood or giant calabash… pick your apocalypse

by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP)

Devoured by a giant squash, engulfed by flood or flames, frozen in a nuclear winter or new ice age, mankind has looked to The End with fear and fascination since the dawn of civilisation.

Nature’s cycles — day succeeding night, the four seasons — long fed fears of being plunged into eternal darkness, or an endless winter.

“Before the great monotheistic religions, most ancient civilisations lived in fear that these cycles would one day stop,” explained the historian Bernard Sergent, author of a recent book exploring 13 apocalyptic myths.

The Aztecs believed there was a chance that — once every 52 years — the sun would no longer rise, so they ordered copious human sacrifices to ensure it did.

But rather than The End of all things, throughout history a good old apocalypse has often been viewed as a way to reset the clock, divide good from evil and start anew.

Derived from ancient Greek, the word means “revelation”. Chosen to figure in the Bible, the Apocalypse of John is just one of the many world’s end scenarios that were in circulation in early Christian times.

The Book of Revelation, the last in the New Testament, describes a string of cataclysmic events that annihilate part of life on Earth, culminating with the announcement of the Second Coming of Christ.

Islam also offers a repertoire of tales of mass destruction — by sandstorm, invasion or fire.

Plague, famine and brutal wars made Europe in the Middle Ages, to many, seem ripe for extermination — leading to a flourishing of prophecies the world would end in 1,000 AD, just as doomsayers would foretell The End a millennium later.

At the start of the Renaissance, the Anabaptists were convinced the end of the world was nigh, and that it was vital to “rebaptise” adults before it came.

— “It’s part of the human make-up” —

“What is most often at stake is being called to account by the gods, or by nature, it’s about being punished for defying some higher order,” said Jean-Noel Lafargue, author of a study of world’s end myths through history.

“Today we no longer need Gods to make us tremble. Man-made disasters suffice. That’s what changed in the 20th century.”

For thousands of years water was the apocalyptic weapon of choice.

For Judeo-Christians, the flood evokes the biblical story of Noah’s Ark, but the motif of a deluge sent upon man by an angry divinity stretches back deep in time.

In Mesopotamia all-engulfing flood myths date from Sumerian times, between the fourth and second millennium BC, as told in the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the earliest surviving works of literature.

Ancient Greece and Rome had their share of floods, too: from the Greek deluge of Ogyges — named after a mythical ruler — to Atlantis, the legendary island swallowed up by the sea, as recounted by the philosopher Plato.

At the dawn of our era, a deluge myth told by a small people from the Near East, the Hebrews, went on to become the most famous of all.

According to the Book of Genesis, God decided to rid Earth of men and animals, instructing a single, “righteous” man, Noah, to build an ark to save himself and a remnant of life.

Fire usually comes just before, or after a flood.

Greece, Scandinavia, India and native American cultures all spoke of the annihilation of early mankind by flames.

Africa and ancient Egypt had no flood myths, but West African folk tales do speak of a “devouring gourd”, or calabash, that swallows up entire settlements, homes, livestock, even the whole of mankind.

“I think it’s part of the human make-up, part of the human psyche somewhere, to have a fascination with the end of the world,” Jocelyn Bell Burnell, visiting professor of astrophysics at Oxford, told AFP.

In the globalised 21st century, the apocalypse — on the silver screen — most often comes as a pandemic or climate cataclysm, but the most enthusiastic doomsayers will doubtless be stockpiling supplies as December 21 supposedly marked by the Mayan calendar as a world’s end moment, draws near.

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Piazza della Carina

“Liberal” [sic] still thinking of voting for Obomba ? watch this and then tell me, personally i  could not stop crying, this is your flavor of humanity, accept it and do something about it or suffer the karma ……..

VIDEO: NATO’s gifts to the children of Libya ~ via Lizzie Phelan

 

 

 

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Plague Rare in U.S., Surfacing in More Affluent Areas

HealthDayBy Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter | HealthDay  

WEDNESDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) — Although the plague is typically considered a remnant of the Middle Ages, when unsanitary conditions and rodent infestations prevailed amid the squalor of poverty, this rare but deadly disease appears to be spreading through wealthier communities in New Mexico, researchers report.

Why the plague is popping up in affluent neighborhoods isn’t completely clear, the experts added.

“Where human plague cases occur is linked to where people live and how people interact with their environment,” noted lead researcher Anna Schotthoefer, from the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in Wisconsin. “These factors may change over time, necessitating periodic reassessments of the factors that put people at risk.”

This latest study confirms previous reports that living within or close to the natural environments that support plague is a risk factor for human plague, Schotthoefer said.

Plague is caused by a fast-moving bacteria, known as Yersinia pestis, that is spread through flea bites (bubonic plague) or through the air (pneumonic plague).

The new report comes on the heels of the hospitalization on June 8 of an Oregon man in his 50s with what experts suspect is plague. According to The Oregonian, the man got sick a few days after being bitten as he tried to get a mouse away from a stray cat. The cat died days later, the paper said, and the man remains in critical condition.

For the new study, published in the July issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the researchers used U.S. Census Bureau data to pinpoint the location and socioeconomic status of plague patients.

About 11 cases of plague a year have occurred in the United States since 1976, with most cases found in New Mexico. Plague has also been reported in a handful of other states.

Although many cases were in areas where the habitat supports rodents and fleas, the researchers also found cases occurring in more upper-class neighborhoods. In the 1980s, most cases occurred where housing conditions were poor, but more recently cases have been reported in affluent areas of Santa Fe and Albuquerque, the investigators found.

“The shift from poorer to more affluent regions of New Mexico was a surprise, and suggests that homeowners in these newly developed areas should be educated about the risks of plague,” Schotthoefer said.

Schotthoefer noted that these more affluent areas where plague occurred were regions where new housing developments had been built in habitats that support the wild reservoirs of plague, which include ground squirrels and woodrats.

Bubonic plague starts with painful swellings (buboes) of the lymph nodes, which appear in the armpits, legs, neck or groin. Buboes are at first a red color, then they turn a dark purple color, or black. Pneumonic plague starts by infecting the lungs. Other symptoms include a very high fever, delirium, vomiting, muscle pains, bleeding in the lungs and disorientation.

In the 14th century, a plague called the Black Death killed an estimated 30 percent to 60 percent of the European population. Victims died quickly, within days after being infected.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Marc Siegel, an associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said he doesn’t expect to see that kind of outbreak ever again.

“This is not a disease of the past, but you are never going to see a massive outbreak of plague in this country,” he said.

“We don’t have the public health problems we used to have and people would be quickly confined if there were ever a large number of cases,” Siegel explained.

Yet, it is not surprising to see plague in these more affluent areas, he noted.

“We know that plague only exists where you have wild animals, and once a reservoir of plague is already present it is likely to persist,” Siegel explained. “It isn’t only about squalor; it’s about where the reservoir is.”

However, if the disease is caught early it is treatable with antibiotics, Siegel added.

More information

For more information on plague, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

 

 

Black Death backtrack: Don’t blame the rats, the plague was ‘spread by PEOPLE’

By Claire Bates and Luke Salkeld

For centuries rats have been blamed for spreading the Black Death, helping to consign millions of people to an agonising death.
But, according to one archaeologist, the rodents are innocent. Instead, the blame for passing on the disease that wiped out a third of the population of Europe could lie with the victims themselves.
The Black Death is widely thought to have been an outbreak of bubonic plague caused by bacteria carried by fleas that lived on black rats. The rodents spread the plague from China to Europe and it hit Britain in 1348.

A man carries a child suffering from the plague in 1349Destroyer: A man carries a child suffering from the plague in 1349

However, according to historian Barney Sloane, the disease spread so quickly that the rats could not be to blame.

Dr Sloane said the increased spread of Black Death over the winter of 1348 coincided with a seasonal decrease in the number of both rats and fleas, which are susceptible to cold.

He also pointed out that rats are also killed by bubonic plague, but said there were no large deposits of rat bones from the 14th century.

The epidemic, which is reckoned to have claimed 75million lives worldwide, spread from person to person in crowded medieval cities, Dr Sloane said.

His findings even cast doubt on whether the Black Death was actually bubonic plague, and not something with similar symptoms.

gods punishmentgods punishment

Dr Sloane, formerly a field archaeologist at the Museum of London, said: ‘We ought to be finding great heaps of dead rats in all the waterfront sites but they aren’t there.

 

 

 

Human Plague — United States, 1993-1994

From 1944 through 1993, 362 cases of human plague were reported in the United States; approximately 90% of these occurred in four western states with endemic disease (Arizona, California, Colorado, and New Mexico) (1). During each successive decade of this period, the number of states reporting cases increased from three during 1944-1953 to 13 during 1984-1993 (Figure_1), indicating the spread of human plague infection eastward to areas where cases previously had not been reported. In 1993, health departments in four states reported 10 confirmed cases * of human plague to CDC; one case has been confirmed during 1994 **. This report summarizes information about the 11 cases of human plague reported during 1993-1994 and describes epidemiologic and epizootic trends of plague in the United States.

In 1993, the 10 confirmed cases of human plague were reported from New Mexico (six cases), Colorado (two), Texas (one), and Utah (one) (Table_1). Persons with plague infection were aged 22-96 years (median: 55.5 years); five were aged greater than or equal to 67 years. Six cases occurred among men. Five cases occurred during June-August, three during March-May, and two during September- November. Seven persons were exposed at their homesites, and one (a veterinarian) was exposed at work; exposure sites could not be determined for two cases. Seven cases were bubonic plague; two, primary septicemic; and one, primary pneumonic. Nine of the 10 patients recovered with antibiotic therapy; one patient died (Table_1).

 

Read Full Report Here 

 

 

 

Man likely sickened by plague in critical condition in Bend

By Lynne Terry, The Oregonian

 

 

 

Bubonic plague bacteria.JPGRocky Mountain LaboratoriesAn electron micrograph depicts a mass of Yersinia pestis bacteria, which cause the plague. A man hospitalized in Bend is critically ill and is believed to have the disease which devastated Europe in the Middle Ages but is now rare.

A man hospitalized in Bend is likely suffering from the plague, marking the fifth case in Oregon since 1995.

The unidentified man, who is in his 50s, fell ill several days after being bitten while trying to get a mouse away from a stray cat. The man is now being treated at St. Charles Medical Center-Bend, where he was listed in critical condition on Tuesday.

“This can be a serious illness,” said Emilio DeBess,  Oregon’s public health veterinarian. “But it is treatable with antibiotics, and it’s also preventable.”

The Black Death raged through Europe during the Middle Ages, killing about a third of the population. Today, the disease is rare, but the bacteria have never disappeared.

The man, who lives in rural Crook County, was bitten Saturday, June 2. He developed a fever a few days later. By Friday, June 8, he was so sick that he checked himself into St. Charles Medical Center-Redmond. He was later transferred to the larger facility in Bend.

Karen Yeargain,  communicable disease coordinator with Crook County Health Department, said lab tests are being done to confirm whether the man has the plague, but she said he is suffering from classic symptoms.

 

 

Read Full Article Here