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 Plague, Medieval Scourge, on the Rise

Plague, Medieval Scourge, on the Rise
By Michael Kahn,
Reuters
Posted: 2008-01-15 11:48:22
Filed Under: Health News, World News
LONDON (Jan. 15) - Plague, the disease that devastated medieval Europe, is re-emerging worldwide and poses a growing but overlooked threat, researchers warned on Tuesday.

While it has only killed some 100 to 200 people annually over the past 20 years, plague has appeared in new countries in recent decades and is now shifting into Africa, Michael Begon, an ecologist at the University of Liverpool and colleagues said.
Medieval Scourge
Makes Comeback
Plague, the disease that decimated medieval Europe's population, is experiencing a resurgence. Researchers say new countries, including some in Africa, have reported outbreaks in recent decades. This lithograph by F. Howard shows people praying for relief from "the Black Death" in the 14th century.
A bacterium known as Yersinia pestis causes bubonic plague, known in medieval times as the Black Death when it was spread by infected fleas, and the more dangerous pneumonic plague, spread from one person to another through coughing or sneezing.

"Although the number of human cases of plague is relatively low, it would be a mistake to overlook its threat to humanity, because of the disease's inherent communicability, rapid spread, rapid clinical course, and high mortality if left untreated," they wrote in the journal Public Library of Science journal PloS Medicine.

Rodents carry plague, which is virtually impossible to wipe out and moves through the animal world as a constant threat to humans, Begon said. Both forms can kill within days if not treated with antibiotics.

"You can't realistically get rid of all the rodents in the world," he said in a telephone interview. "Plague appears to be on the increase, and for the first time there have been major outbreaks in Africa."

Globally the World Health Organization reports about 1,000 to 3,000 plague cases each year, with most in the last five years occurring in Madagascar, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The United States sees about 10 to 20 cases each year.

More worrying are outbreaks seem on the rise after years of relative inactivity in the 20th century, Begon said. The most recent large pneumonic outbreak comprised hundreds of suspected cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006.

Bubonic plague, called the Black Death because of black bumps that sometimes develop on victims' bodies, causes severe vomiting and high fever. Victims of pneumonic plague have similar symptoms but not the black bumps.

Begon and his colleagues called for more research into better ways to prevent plague from striking areas where people lack access to life-saving drugs and to defend against the disease if used as a weapon.

"We should not overlook the fact that plague has been weaponized throughout history, from catapulting corpses over city walls, to dropping infected fleas from airplanes, to refined modern aerosol formulation," the researchers wrote.
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2008-01-15 08:59:42

 2008/1/18 16:20
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 Re: Plague, Medieval Scourge, on the Rise

Quote:
Globally the World Health Organization reports about 1,000 to 3,000 plague cases each year, with most in the last five years occurring in Madagascar, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The United States sees about 10 to 20 cases each year.

More worrying are outbreaks seem on the rise after years of relative inactivity in the 20th century, Begon said. The most recent large pneumonic outbreak comprised hundreds of suspected cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006.



Matthew 24:7-8 - "For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and [b]pestilences[/b], and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows."



_________________
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2008/1/18 16:26Profile









 Re:

I also just learned ....heard ( can anyone back this up) that plagues , or this one, are caused by droughts.

Well, we've seen many of these lately, here in the USA.

Katy

 2008/1/18 16:33
ginnyrose
Member



Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7486
Mississippi

 Re:

Katy,

Maybe the world needs more cats roaming the countryside? I recall reading years ago of a place in SA, I think, that was being ravished by an unknown disease. Experts were brought in and after evaluating the situation, advised that cats be brought in and let loose. They did and soon they saw a drop in incidence of the disease and eventually it disappeared.

So perhaps more cats should be allowed to roam without being fed catfood so they will hunt down the rodents and eat them! Beats poison, IMHO. On the other hand there likely will be some animal rightist who raise a hue and cry to prevent such cruelty to rats!! **sniff* **sniff**:-P

ginnyrose


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Sandra Miller

 2008/1/18 16:47Profile









 Re:

Ginnyrose... TOOOOO funny!!!

I know there is such an imbalance in nature WE have caused.

The disappearance of Honey Bees, and what that is doing is really scary.

In china, there is a place where all the Honey Bees have disappeared, and the local people have to hand pollinate the fruit trees.

I'm sure the pesticides are to blame, and possibly the cause of so many bacteria being able to survive longer and harder.

There are so many factors involved.

Speaking of rats...

Years ago, my daughter wanted a Python for a pet. Oh My, this was ALL she wanted for her birthday.

No! No! No! was my only reply.

Oh Mom, just come to the pet store and I'll show you how sweet they are....

(my daughter was and is a animal activist)

With appealing to her animal right conscience I said....oh do you know what Pythons eat...mice and then rats...

Her reply...that's OK I hate rats!

So if she is any indication of the rights of rats...maybe Cats are an excellent idea!

Katy


 2008/1/18 17:02
Talkn2u
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Joined: 2006/12/31
Posts: 196


 Re:

but then what will happen to the "kitties?? :-o

 2008/1/18 18:24Profile









 Re:

Quote:
but then what will happen to the "kitties?? :-o



They will all be fat and happy and live happily ever after!!!

Katy

 2008/1/18 18:30
Talkn2u
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Joined: 2006/12/31
Posts: 196


 Re:

Oh good.
I like that story! :-)

 2008/1/18 20:45Profile
crsschk
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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: I'll put my cat up against your cat ...

We have this section of the planet secured ... perhaps we could hire her out ;-)

http://gotosermonindex.blogspot.com/


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Mike Balog

 2008/1/19 17:24Profile
ccchhhrrriiisss
Member



Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4526


 Re:

That is too funny, ginnyrose! I almost feel guilty for laughing in a thread as serious as one dealing with the plague!

I remember reading an article about how PETA was protesting the Mel Gibson film, Braveheart, over the depiction of horses getting killed. Although no horses were actually killed or injured during the filming of the movie, they were still protesting the DEPICTION of animal deaths. I always thought that it was ironic that the film shows far more HUMAN DEATHS than horses. But PETA cared more about the horses than the humans!

Anyway, I think that this thread put me in the mood for buying a nice cat!

;-)


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Christopher

 2008/1/19 19:11Profile





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