The Black Death: The Plague In The 19th Century

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“In the year of the Lord 1348 there was a very great pestilence in the city and district of Florence… Almost none of the ill survived past the fourth day. Neither physicians nor medicines were effective. ” This is how historian Marchione di Coppo Stefani described the Black Death spreading through Florence. Between 1346 and 1353, the Black Death killed almost one-third of the population of Europe. Despite the gruesome and terrible deaths the Black Death caused, the preventative public health measures Medieval cities and towns took to stop the spread of disease influenced the development of public health boards and policies.
The Black Death was an epidemic since the population experienced “a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time.” The Black Death was caused by the bacterial strain Yersinia pestis, which is highly lethal. Yersinia pestis lives in the digestive system of fleas, and secondary carriers to the disease are rodents, as well as other common house and barn animals. The Black Plague was zoonotic and spread
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Those affected were exiled from their communities and were considered socially dead, isolation going so far as to have funeral services enacted for the leper before they were to be exiled. During the time of the Black Death, Christianity connected disease and sin together, disease being a punishment for sins. When the Black Plague hit towns, many prayed to repent for their sins in the hope that it would stop the spread of disease caused by God’s wrath. Drawing from the actions taken to deal with and to isolate lepers, the Black Death was treated in a similar fashion in that cities would not let people from areas where the plague had been into their cities to stop the spread of disease. The main protection against disease was to avoid infection, consequently, regulations regarding isolation rapidly developed throughout
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