Black Death – The Worst Epidemic in History

The Worst Epidemic in History, Europe took 150 years to recover its population as before. It is known as the Black Death.

What is Black Death?


Black Death


The Black Death was the name given to the deadliest plague pandemic in history. Pandemic occurred mainly in Asia and Europe during the 14th century, between 75 to 200 million deaths.

The peak of the epidemic was in Europe, in just 4 years (1347-1351) the epidemic killed 30-60% of the continent’s population. Reduced the global population during that period from about 450 million people to 250-375 million people. Although until now, scientists have not really found out where the source of the disease originates. But most theories still support the idea that it originated in Asia, then spread to Europe.

In the years 1345 to 1346, the Mongols dragged their troops to attack the Kennova city in the Crimea. But then there was an epidemic that caused too many soldiers to die, forcing the Mongols to withdraw. Before returning, the Mongols used catapults to shoot disease-carrying corpses into the city.

In a short time, the disease spread and killed almost a number of people in the city. When so many people died, the Kennova merchants fled the city on ships crossing the Black Sea to return to their homeland. However, the disease has spread to these people. So, when the ship docked in Sicily, most of the people on the ship were dead, the whole body appeared many black boils and pus.

When discovered, the Sicilian authorities quickly took these ships out of the port but it was too late. The Black Death hit the port of Messina and then spread to the port of Marseilles in France. After that the disease spread to the port of Tunis in North Africa, followed by Rome and Florence. These two cities were at the heart of complex trade routes. After that, the disease continued to spread to many parts of the world.

The Terrible Contagion

By mid-1348, the plague spread to Paris and London, but Europeans were not ready to fight the Black Death. Anyone could be infected, male or female, but mainly those under the age of 20. This is a strange disease, on the body of the patient emerges bumps, from these swellings, blood and pus. Followed by a series of other symptoms such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, terrible pain. And finally in a short time, the patients will die.

Black Death is indeed very scary, it can spread very quickly, just touching the clothes of the sick person can be infected. The disease progresses very quickly. Some people are completely healthy, after being infected can die overnight. From the nooks and crannies of cities to villages littered with unburied corpses. In the end, people had to dig mass graves to solve this situation.

In 1348, the Black Death spread so quickly that the authorities and doctors did not have enough time to understand the nature of the disease. The governments of European have been unable to come up with a countermeasure. They do not know the cause or find out how the disease spreads.

Finally, the authorities have sought to blame this pandemic on divine punishment, or on the Jews poisoning the water. In panic, most people just pray. Atheists have massacred the Jewish diaspora in Europe, with only a few realizing the only way out of the pandemic is to flee it.

The Solution?

At that time, no one knew about infectious diseases, they only knew that if they were close to each other, it was very easy to get sick. Later, European doctors invented a protective suit that was a beak-shaped mask, inside were materials that were said to be able to fight pathogens. They also wear black and white clothes that look like crows. The women wear wide skirts with iron frames inside to avoid close contact with each other.

In addition, progressive officials have ordered new sailors to be quarantined until they can prove that they do not have the disease. They practice isolating sick people from healthy people, which may be the reason to help prevent the epidemic.

Scientists also put forward another theory that society has reached a state of “herd immunity”. Since the Black Death, this pandemic has boomed again and it only disappeared in the 19th century.

Who caused the Black Death?

For hundreds of years, the cause of the Black Death has remained a mystery and is even shrouded in superstitions. However, with Microscope finally revealed the real culprit of this deadly disease.

In 1894, Alexandre Emile Jean Yersin – a French doctor, first discovered the bacteria causing the plague and he successfully prepared the anti-plague serum after 1 year. Later, scientists named the bacteria that caused the plague Yersinia-Pestis in his honor.

Yersinia-Pestis is an extremely virulent bacteria. After entering the body of warm-blooded animals, disables the host’s immune system by injecting toxins into the immune cells. When these cell types are eliminated, it will allow Yersinia-Pestis bacteria to multiply rapidly and spread throughout the body through the bloodstream.

This bacteria is killed at a temperature of 55 degrees C in 30 minutes, at a temperature of 100 degrees C in 1 minute, they can be killed by common disinfectants. According to the widely supported theory, Yersinia-Pestis bacteria originated from mice, after the mice died, the parasitic fleas on them would jump out, they attached themselves to people and spread the disease.

Scientists have found out how the Yersinia-Pestis bacteria can infect the body, which can enter the body in many different ways such as respiratory, blood and gastrointestinal tract. Each form of the disease has different variants such as lymphatic, pulmonary and septicemic, which are the most fatal. Once infected, the patient is estimated to have only 2-7 days to live.

Currently, the plague has a cure and prevention, but the story of the “Black Death” is always the most terrifying obsession in human history.