Sunday, July 8, 2012

In the United States, 10 to 15 people still die from the black plague every year.

The Black Plague (actually known as the "Black Death") is a legendary outbreak of an infectious disease which peaked in Europe in the late 1340s. Many people have the misconception that that was the end of this grisly disease.

But oh, how wrong they be! In fact, the Black Plague continued to return for outbreak curtain calls throughout Europe and the Middle East well into the 17th century. A third wave pandemic started in China in 1855 and lasted for a century, spreading throughout the world. Furthermore, here is a map showing plague-infected animals as of 1998:

But there is still more glum news: In June of 2012, this story reports an Oregon man who is currently battling the disease. Mostly the Western US still reports 10 to 15  cases of the plague each year, which still resists antibiotic treatment in some cases, resulting in a fatality rate of 1 in 7.

Just a reminder that we can be wiped out today as easily as we were in past centuries. All it takes is one determined strain of bacteria.