In October of 1347, several Italian merchant ships returned from a trip to the Black Sea, a link in trade with China. When the ships docked in Sicily, many of those on board were dying of an unknown plague. Within days the disease spread to the city and the surrounding countryside. .
This plague was the Bubonic Plague. The death rate was 90%. It was transmitted by the fleas from black rats. The symptoms were: swollen lymph nodes, high fever, and delirium. Sometimes the lungs became infected and coughing, sneezing, or simply talking spread it from person to person. .
There are three types of the Bubonic Plague. They are septicemic and bubonic which are spread through the bite of an infected flea, and pneumonic which is airborne through coughing up of saliva. .
The Bubonic and Septicemic type is spread through a bite of a flea. Rats, humans, and fleas were hosts for the disease. The bacterium that causes the Black Plague lives in the stomach of the flea. The bacteria multiplies so much that the bacteria blocks the feeding tube of the flea. This ends up that the flea is really hungry, so it bites a host so much to try to get some blood, that the bacteria from the feeding tube flows into the wound. Then the flea dies of hunger. .
The Pneumonic type is spread through droplets of saliva from the lungs and mouth of the infected. The droplets are filled with the bacterium that causes the plague. The bacterium enters the lungs through starts attacking the lungs and throat. .
The plague had spread as far north as England, where people called it "The Black Death" because of the black spots it produced on the skin. A killer had come to Europe; their medicine could not cure or do anything to prevent it. Although, in the winter, the plague stopped, but this was only because the fleas that carried the disease were hibernating. Then in the spring, the plague erupted into a wave of death. After each spring for five years twenty five million people had died.