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With the advancements in pest control technology today, bugs and vermin are easily exterminated in any possible environment such as homes and buildings. We live in such a fortunate age, because science and technology has provided the means to live a relatively pest-free life.
But in the olden days, such methods were not even created, and pests were really…er…pests to everyone who encountered them. Since most furniture was made of wood, termites abounded. Since hygiene was not a main concern, vermin such as rats and mice abounded in the filth of humans.
Speaking of vermin, in the 1300s, a rat pandemic spread across Europe and killed a third of the population. It is considered the worst pest infestation in history, with numerous references to it still being made today. In this article, we’ll take a look at the Bubonic Plague.
The Bubonic Plague (or Black Death) was an epidemic that spread in Europe from 1346 to 53. It was so terrible because no one at the time knew how to deal with it. Worse, there was no known cure.
The plague was called “bubonic” because of the buboes, or swelled lymph nodes in the groin and armpits as symptoms from the disease. After which, black spots appeared on various body parts. Usually, people would die within 3 to 5 days without any other symptoms such as fever. Hence, the alternate name “Black Death” was also coined.
Rats were thought to be the main reason for the Plague, but in reality, it was because of the rat flea, with the aid of black rats (adding more weight to the term Black Death) and unhygienic living conditions. There’s an order as to how it happened. The filth and trash of adjoining towns encouraged the rats to breed in large numbers. The unsanitary disposal of dead human bodies also contributed to an unhealthy environment, which spread the disease even more.
But the final nail in the Bubonic Plague coffin were the fleas that infested the mice. The fleas infected the vermin with the disease. Since black rats inhabited in areas where humans abounded, if the dead rats were within proximity, the fleas jumped onto them and began sucking their blood. Since vermin are known carriers of deadly diseases such as lymphocytic Choriomeningitis and rat-bite fever, the bacteria from the rats were transferred to humans by the fleas.
The rats that inhabited within human territory were also fond of ships. And that’s how the Plague spread. It hitchhiked with ships to other places of Europe, spreading the Plague and, sadly, killing more people. It continued on until 1353, when the epidemic ended. There were still traces of the disease, but once progressions in medicine happened, it became an obsolete sickness.
And there you have it, the worst pest infestation in human history. We hope you learned something new today. If you have any more information about the Bubonic Plague to share, do so in the comments section below.