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Infection & Migration of the Black Death

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In the mid fourteenth century, Black Death or Plague was one of the most devastating catastrophes that killed more than twenty five million people in Europe. The plague only took less than two years before it ended. In comparison to the current days that we are live in, the Black Death can be compared to the nuclear bombs. The most amazing thing about the epidemic was how it was spread or migrating from one place to another at a high rate. Additionally, the different signs and symptoms people were exhibiting after they were infected by the plague happened quickly, that is, less than forty days. However, different specialists in the medical field have argued about how the disease was spread or how it migrated in relation to the signs and symptoms caused by it.


            According to one of the biomedical researchers, Norman Cantor, the plague migrated from China through the Silk Road or the ship into Europe. It is believed to have been caused by ‘Yesinia pests.’ This pest was passed by a flea that was carried by the black rats (Cantor 14). These rats were usually found on the ships traveling from China to Europe. In his article, the plague is estimated to have infected scores of people, approximately twenty five million people. The most common symptoms that were exhibited by the people who were infected were the appearance of big boils known as buboes in the grown, the neck and the armpits. After a person was infected, it took only thirty-eight days before the person died. Based on the symptoms of the disease, Cantor has characterized the disease, as the plague and the only possible cause for the spread of this disease were the black rats from china.

            Another biomedical specialist, Samuel Cohn has indicated that the plague spread from other continents into Europe through the Silk Road. The black rats have been famed to carry the disease spreading it all over Europe like lightening. He has described the plague as the rat based bubonic plague. This meant that the rats were transmitting the disease from one continent to another. Cohn has also indicated that the plague was spreading from one person to another, based on the evidence of the mid fourteenth century. People were being infected through close contact with people who were infected. The most common symptoms of the plague were the boils that appeared in the groin, the neck and the armpits and the fevers people were experiencing. This is similar to what Cantor has discussed in his article.

            On the contrary, based on the article by Lila Guterman, the plague could have not migrated from China through the Silk Road. This information is from two biologists who thought that the black rats, though carriers of bubonic plague could not have been able to spread the disease. This was because of the cold seasons of England and France that were experienced during winter. In the article, the information about the migration of the disease has not been covered but how the disease was spreading has been explained by the biologists. They have indicated that the disease was being spread by the people who were infected. This was when a person was exposed to an infected person. According to the biologists, the symptoms of the disease were red spots on the chest and hemorrhagic fever. As compared to the other articles, it is in contrast with what the other specialist have written but all have agreed that the Black Death was a great pandemic in Europe in the mid fourteenth century.


The Black Death was a great epidemic in Europe and it was spreading like lighting all over Europe and other parts of the world like the Middle East. The issue about how it migrated and spread all over has been a great dispute between the different biomedical specialists. Most of them say that the plague was spread by the black rats through the Silk Road from China. On the other hand, there are those who have refuted the claim and they have indicated it was not possible due to the cold weather and the only way it could have spread is by being exposed to an infected person. Therefore, this has made the issue to be under review so that a conclusive answer can be obtained.

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