Symptoms Of The Plague In Europe
These tumors were mainly in the groin area and were the sign of death within 24 hours in 99 percent of cases. The scourge was also known as "the poor plague" because of the regular first occurrence in the poorer parts of town. The symptoms were described as: seizures followed by an increase of temperature, with vomiting, headache, dizziness, intolerance to light, pain in the lower abdomen, back and limbs, restlessness, lethargy and delirium. The body temperature varied greatly from 101º-107º but fell two or three degrees on the second or third day. The headache was described as splitting and the deliriousness similar to the DTs (delirium tremens), resulting from severe drunkenness. The eyes became red; the tongue swelled and became covered with a white fur except on the tip. Later the tongue became dry and the fur turned yellow or brown. Constipation was the rule but there might be diarrhea an even dreadful symptom. 6 a typical symptom in severe cases was that the patient appeared shocked and brainless, staggered and had slurred speech. The patient might die within 24 hours, but more usually death occurred on the second or third day. Recovery was very rare. The plague presented itself in three interconnected types. The bubonic variant (the most common) derives its name from the …show more content…
The carriers of the plague -- rats and fleas -- were not suspected for one very simple reason; rats and fleas were common and well known to the 14th century. Fleas are not mentioned in the records of the plague.
The real plague bacillus, Yersina pestis, was not discovered until the middle of the 19th century, 500 years later! Living in the stomach of the flea or in the bloodstream of the rat, the bacillus was transferred to humans by the bite of either the flea or the rat. The plague's usual form of transportation was the rattus, the small medieval black rat that was a regular companion of sailor's on board sailing ships. The death of the rat caused the transfer of the flea, and if its next host just happened to be a human, then infection was the result.
Medieval men and women were quite resourceful, however, in determining the cause of the plague. The earthquake of 1348 was blamed for corrupting the air with stinking smell, so kicking off the plague. The alignment of the planets was advocated as yet another reason: Saturn, Jupiter and Mars aligned in the 40th degree of Aquarius on March 20, 1345