Encyclopedia

Plague

Description

Plague is an infectious disease caused by the plague bacillus /bacterium/ Yersinia Pestis. The infectious agent spreads easily and the disease it causes can be fatal if left untreated.

The Plague, better known as the “Black Death” inspires more fear and terror than any other disease known to mankind. It caused the death of most of the 200 million people during the Middle Ages, and only in the period between 1347-51 in Europe, according to the data of the Catholic Church, about 23,850 million people died from the infectious disease, which represents almost 1/3 of the 75 million population< /strong> on the European continent then.

Although historians are still not convinced, the plague bacterium was the cause of numerous epidemics and at least major pandemics – epidemics that spread over large areas or across several continents.

The first plague pandemic spread from the Middle East to the Mediterranean basin between the 5th and 6th centuries, killing about half of the population in those areas.

Alexander Yersin isolated the bacteria that caused the deadly disease and developed an antiserum and was the first to suggest that fleas and rats may have spread the bacteria during the 1894 epidemic year.

Pandemics have managed to spread to all major continents, perhaps with the exception of Australia. Unlike smallpox, the plague cannot be eradicated. It is a disease of the desert, the steppes, the mountains and the forest.

There are no statistics on the disease for Bulgaria. And in the USA in recent decades, 7 cases per year have been reported. And it refers to the mildest form of the disease and is found mostly in the southwestern states. Even as recently as about 3 months ago, 3 new cases were reported in the state of Colorado.

Outside the US, about 1,000 to 2,000 cases each year are reported to the World Health Organization. The actual number of cases is probably much higher, as many of the poorer countries fail to detect and report the plague.

The following countries have reported the most cases since 1979: Tanzania, Vietnam, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Peru, Madagascar, Burma, Brazil, Uganda, China and the United States.

Also 3 months ago, several neighborhoods of a city in China with a population of about 100,000 were quarantined, due to the death of a person caused by the bubonic form of the disease. > The deceased came into contact with a rodent infected with the plague bacterium.

The topic of the plague continues to be glaringly relevant, as there are suspicions that the infectious bacillus that causes the disease has been used to create a biological weapon.

What are the symptoms?

• Fever;
• Chills;
• Body aches;
Sore throat;
• Headache;
• Fatigue;
• Muscle weakness;
Abdominal pain /may be the only symptom for the septicemic form of the disease/
Nausea, vomiting – sometimes the vomited mass contains blood;
• Constipation, diarrhea and black or tarry faeces;
• Cough, may be accompanied by the release of bloody sputum;
• Shortness of breath;
• Neck stiffness;
• Disturbances in heart rhythm, low blood pressure;
• As the disease progresses, it is possible to start seizures and the patient feeling confused.

Treatment of plague

If plague bacillus infection is suspected, health authorities take precautions such as all those caring for the patient must wear protective goggles, gloves and masks .

Antibiotic therapy is immediately prescribed, most often streptomycin sulfate is administered in combination with tetracycline and other antibiotics. Patients are isolated and precautions are taken to avoid infecting other people.</p >

Some patients also need breathing support by being fitted with an oxygen mask. Patients are kept isolated until 2-3 days after the start of antibiotic therapy?

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