HLTA01 - Chapter 4

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Department
Health Studies
Course
HLTB21H3
Professor
Caroline Barakat
Semester
Fall

Description
HLTA01 Plagues and People: Chapter 4 An Ancient Plague, the Black Death - Bubonic plague pandemics – resulted on both social and economic rising - Contributed to Justinian’s failure - First bubonic plague – 542-543 (Justinian Plague) - Second bubonic plague – 1346-1352 o Population of Europe and Middle East had declined from 100 million to 80 million o Stopped the increase of population which had begun in 5000 BC o Took over 150 years for the population to go back to its original size - Known as the Black Death, the Great Dying, or the Great Pestilence - Not only did the Black Death break the Malthusian stalemate, but it also allowed Europeans to restructure their society along very different paths - People recognized that the disease was contagious however no one knew the cause - Believed to be “a vicious property of the air” - Source of the second pandemic was the microbes left over from the first pandemic (the Justinian Plague) o Justinian plague moved eastward and remained endemic for seven centuries in voles, marmots, and the highly susceptible black rats (central Asia) - Plague infected rats o Moved westward along the caravan routes between Asia and the Mediterranean o Rats boarded the ships and were moved from port to port and country to country  Spread the plague to the human populations that were living in unhealthy, rat-infested communities/ cities - Story of the Pied Piper was said to relate to this plague - Florence – one of the greatest cities of Europe o Suffered a tremendous amount from the plague o Black Death is mostly associated with this city o Giovanni Boccaccio  Compared the disease to tumors growing in the armpits and groins  Affected both men and women  Said that people died within almost 3 days after the appearance - It was believed that only total isolation of the infected would allow the plague to ridden or at least decrease in occurrence - Although microbes were the cause of the plague, no one was able to discover this because of the lack of equipment o Everyone knew that it was the sickness itself that was the enemy, not the people infected, however, to b safe people were still put into total isolation - 1374; “Quarantine” o Venetian Republic required that all the ships, crews, passengers and cargos ad to stay on board in isolation for 40 days - The restricted movement of the people in quarantine may have somewhat reduced the spread of the plague, however the infected people were usually confined to their homes living with uninfected family members and the infectious rats - Some of the effective measures of public health included burning the clothes and beddings of the infected people, and burying the dead in shallow unmarked graves sprinkled with lyre - Because the people were not able to identify the source of the plague, they resulted in blaming the “outsiders” - Religious and social aspects also began to change o Feudal structure broke down o Laboring class became more mobile o Merchants and craftsmen became more powerful - Decline in papal authorities - People lost faith in Christian church - Black Death did not disappear totally after its long affect on Europe - Came back to Europe several times between 1347 and 1722 from the caravans coming from Asia - Third bubonic plague – 1860’s o Yunnan region of China o The movement of the troops allowed for the disease to spread to southern coast of China - The plague infested rodents were able to spread the disease “easier” by the modern steamships and railways - Throughout the 3 pandemics of the bubonic plague, there is an estimated amount of over 200 million people killed A Look Back - Population of Europe grew in the 12 century o Due to the introduction of new crops, windmills, waterwheels, horse collars, and the mould board plow, agricultural production increased o Money started being used for trading o Poverty and misery had arrived due to famine because of the changes in whether that agriculture couldn’t keep up with o Because of the poverty, many were left living in the filthy cities where rats were once again populating  Humans unknowingly provided food and shelter for these black rats  The black rats were most susceptible  When they died off, the humans became the new victims - People fled the cities which resulted in other cities suffering from the disease - The only “advantages” were that it lead to the improvement and advances of labor- saving devices, as well as a reevaluation of Galenic medicine Public Health - Dramatically reduced the life expectancy age from 35 or 40 years, to 20 - Believed that security could only be found by total isolation of the infected - Sick had to be segregated from the healthy o They were removed from their homes and families o Isolated in special hospitals; “pest houses” o Many were left stranded with the infected rats by themselves in their homes and left to starve to death, or to die from the plague o Dead were removed and buried quickly - Even with quarantine, and 90% of the sailors dying aboard the ships, 50% of the population of Venice died - Cordon sanitaires were established to prevent “outsiders” from coming into the city Discrimination - Restrictions like the cordon sanitaires and quarantine were often expanded and limited personal freedom so that they would be able to identify the culprits o Strangers, lepers, beggars, prostitutes, the poor, Jews - The plague aided in anti-semitism - Although the Muslim community blamed the Christians, both Christians and Muslims blamed the Jews - 1348; Jews were accused of spreading the disease by poisoning the Christian wells - Over 900 Jews were burned on the ground of a Jewish cemetery (1349) Church - Priests who did the last rites had a very high mortality - There was a loss of faith in the clergy because they seemed powerless in preventing death or the spread of death - Roman Catholic Church decided to blame God o They claimed that this was their Judgment Day - The spread of the plague lead people to believe more in “m
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