The Black Death is Back
#11
If I recall correctly, the plague claims several lives on Indian reservations every year because of the prairie dog population (or, as my sister-in-law calls them, "plague bunnies") and the lack of solid medical care.  My tenth graders always freak out a little when I tell then this after handling the Black Death.
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#12
(09-21-2012, 09:08 AM)jovan66102 Wrote:
(09-21-2012, 08:35 AM)Rosarium Wrote:
(09-20-2012, 11:07 PM)jovan66102 Wrote: It's not 'back'. It's never been gone. I have a friend, a biologist, who did his post doc research on bubonic plague carrying rats in Indonesia in the 70s. Lots of 'em still around. And a year doesn't go by without a case or two in the US.

This may be the "Year of the Shark" all over again.

Exactly.

But aside from hype, it is good to be aware of diseases we do not encounter frequently.

The Black Death is not the same as the diseases we have now. There are variations in the pathogens over time.

There were recent outbreaks aside from the Medieval European accounts, such as the outbreaks in China and India in the 19th century which killed many people. And of course there are smaller outbreaks of it all over the world.

The disease is spread by fleas and spread by animals carrying those fleas. Pandemics would require special circumstances for this to spread over a large area now. Now, if it is weaponized, that is a concern of course, but I do not think this disease is something which can be spread easily that way. It would be very local.
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#13
One of the most captivating and historically important aspects of the "Black Death" or "Bubonic Plague" is that it spread so far and killed so many.

Circumstances, hygiene and living conditions, medical care, public health policy -- are all very different now.

Same Yersinia pestis (okay, it's changed, and the name has changed to, but same type of pathogen) ... but there are other things to worry about before the fear that 1/3 of Europe is going to die off in a few years from this.
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#14
There are some areas in China where it's found. It's left over from medical experiments conducted by the Japanese on POWs during WWII.
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#15
(09-21-2012, 09:11 AM)Pilgrim Wrote: If I recall correctly, the plague claims several lives on Indian reservations every year because of the prairie dog population (or, as my sister-in-law calls them, "plague bunnies") and the lack of solid medical care.  My tenth graders always freak out a little when I tell then this after handling the Black Death.

Does genetics have anything to do with it?

I remember a New York Times article from last year which claimed that the plague wasn't Yersenia Pestis.
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#16
Horrifying.
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#17
(09-21-2012, 05:52 PM)Phillipus Iacobus Wrote:
(09-21-2012, 09:11 AM)Pilgrim Wrote: If I recall correctly, the plague claims several lives on Indian reservations every year because of the prairie dog population (or, as my sister-in-law calls them, "plague bunnies") and the lack of solid medical care.  My tenth graders always freak out a little when I tell then this after handling the Black Death.

Does genetics have anything to do with it?

I remember a New York Times article from last year which claimed that the plague wasn't Yersenia Pestis.

There is often speculation that the Plague was various other diseases, but I think the general consensus is that it is what is it thought to be, although with different variations and it can accompany other outbreaks.

The conditions necessary for it to spread can also spread other diseases easily.
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#18
There's two kinds. Bubonic which is spread by the bite of infected fleas. And Pneumonic which is spread by water droplets in coughing. This  form is far more dangerous. You can
get it from being in the same room.
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#19
I'm more afraid of some of the superbugs lurking around.  I just went to a conference where they were talking about bacteria that can break down carbapenem, one of our "last resort" antibiotics.  And of course there's not much research going on into new antibiotics given the low potential for massive profits.  But don't panic - big pharma is working on a few new drugs to treat erectile dysfunction.
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#20
(09-21-2012, 06:32 PM)Pheo Wrote: I'm more afraid of some of the superbugs lurking around.  I just went to a conference where they were talking about bacteria that can break down carbapenem, one of our "last resort" antibiotics.  And of course there's not much research going on into new antibiotics given the low potential for massive profits. 
Superbugs are easy to defeat: do not kill their competitors except when absolutely necessary.

Quote: But don't panic - big pharma is working on a few new drugs to treat erectile dysfunction.

For some reason, I thought of way too many puns to write in responding to this.
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