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HLTB21H3 (177)
Chapter 4

Plagues Chapter 4

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Health Studies
Caroline Barakat

Chapter Four: An Ancient Plague, the Black Death - During the last 2000 years – three great bubonic plague pandemics resulted in social and economic upheavals o Unmatched by those caused by any arm conflict - The Black death, put an end to the rise in human population - It took more than 150 years for the population to return to its former size - The black death allowed Europeans to restructure their society along very different paths - It was a contagious disease from person to person – cause was not identified then - Today we know the source of the second plague: o Microbes left over from the first pandemic (the Justinian plague), which moved in voles, marmots and black rats - The rats boarded ships and moved from port to port in various countries - Contagious nature of plague led to the belief of total isolation of sick - More effective measuers included burning of clothing and bedding and burying the dead in shallow graves - Public used outsides as scapegoats - Black death led to societal and religious changes feudal structure began to break down, laboring class became mobile, merchants became more powerful - There was a decline in papal authority - Third pandemic began in the 1860s – rate borne bubonic plague killed more than 200 million people A Look Back - Rats and humans lived in close quarters - As human population soared so did the rat population www.notesolution.com - Humans provided food and shelter for these rodents - Short term effect of the plague shock and fear o Panic broke the economic structure and disrupted work and service o Communities were thrown into chaos o They deserted cities and towns - Black death had positive aspects technological advances o Through the invention of labour-saving devises o More diversified economy with a redistribution of wealth Public Health - Death from plague reduced the average life from 40 years to 20 - Board of health were established and given powers that abrogated civil liberties - Sick were regarded as the enemy – they were segregated from the healthy - People were sealed up in their houses with infected rats and left to starve to death - Dead were removed and quickly buried - Plague undermined confidence in local church leaders Discrimination: - Restrictions expanded to limit personal freedom - They blamed: strangers, lepers, beggars, poor, prostitute, Jews - Plague aided in the spread of anti-Semitism - In Muslim countries – it were the Christians that were blamed - The right for Jews to practice their own religion was taken away - Rumours spread that Jews were spreading the disease by poisoning the wells www.notesolution.com - They were rounded up and burned to death, prohibited from owning land Church: - More than 500 died each day - There was loss of faith in the clergy because they seemed so powerless to prevent death - There was a decline in papal authority - The Church suggested that this was Judgment Day Medicine: - Medieval society had four kinds of medical practitioners: academic physicians, surgeons, barbers, folk medicine - Since plague appeared, confidence in academic physicians disappeared - New prestige fell t to the barbers, bloodletting and surgery - There was an emphasis on studies of human anatomy in health and disease - The Galenic system declined in importance Education: - As the death toll from plague increased, the number of university students decreased as well as universities - Led to a curriculum reform and instruction began to be carried out in vernacular language Economy and Social Order - The immediate effect of the Black Death was paralysis - Trade ceased - Inflation and sharp rise of the cost of food www.notesolution.com - Hundred Years War between England and France was halted due to lack of men - An innovation to compensate for lack of army – improved firearms - Nature of farming was altered feudal system of serfs declined o Salaries were paid and rent were paid - In the city, tools and machines were substituted for human labour o Ex: movable type and printing press - As plague continued to deplete members o Guilds has to take on new apprentices without family connections o Shorter years of apprenticeship - Bigger ships with smaller crews - Merchants and bankers and craftsmen became more powerful - Greater redistribution of wealth – aristrocracy declined Finding the Killer - Germ theory of disease: disease could result from the invasion of the body by microbes or germs - Bubonic plague was caused by a rod-shaped, gram-negative bacterium - Alexandre Yersin discovered the plague microbe but did nto ifind the means whereby the disease could be transmitted from rat to human - Paul-Louis Simon noted that fleas were the plague transmission vector The Disease of Plague - Most human cases of the plague are of the bubonic form - Infection results from the bite of a flea - The bacteria spread to the lymph nodes (armpits, neck and groin) www.notesolution.com - Classic sign of the bubonic plague – bubo - Three days after buboes appear – high fever, diliruim and black splotches on skin - Buboes continue to enlarge and when these buboes burst there is agonizing pain - Death can from 2 to 4 days after symptoms - A second form of the plague SPECTICEMIC PLAGUE o When bacteria enters the bloodstream o Fever, chills, heachache, malaise, hemoraghing and death o Has a higher mortality rate - Pneunomic Plague the only form of the disease that allows for human-to-human transmission o Characterized by water s
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