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The Black Death

             The Black Death was a plague that haunted Europe for four years. It began its horrible rampage in 1347 and ended in late 1351. In those four years it is estimated to have killed between twenty-five to forty-five percent of the population of Europe. "The Black Death was the single worst natural phenomenon in European medieval history- (Jordan 90). The Black Death, which killed one-third of the population of Europe, drastically changed the way of life for many people and had many social and economical consequences.
             The plague was a highly lethal disease caused by a strain of bacteria called Yersinia pestis. The bacterium that the plague came from is usually confined to a type of flea and the rats that the flea feeds on. Different weather patterns were one of the causes of the plague bacteria to infect humans in the early 1300s. Environment conditions can cause the flea to infect humans with the bacteria, and spread suddenly over a large area (Jordan 90). .
             The Yersinia pestis flea usually occupied a certain kind of environment that is found in southern Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, and east Africa (Jordan 90). The fleas mostly fed on the ground-dwelling rodents of central Asia and the common black rat of medieval Europe. During the Black Death, the plague bacteria began to multiply rapidly, which blocked the flea's stomach and caused it to starve. While the flea would feed on its host, it would regurgitate the Yersinia pestis bacterium into the rat's bloodstream, consequently infecting the host with the disease. The fleas preferred to feed on rodents and would only feed on humans as a last resort. When the flea would move to a person it would immediately start feeding and spreading its bacteria into the person's bloodstream. As people died, the fleas would quickly find someone else to feed upon (Corzine 27).
             The first symptoms of the disease were egg-size black swellings called buboes under the armpits or in the groin area.

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