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The Bubonic plague is a contagious disease which can reach epidemic proportions transmitted to humans by the fleas of an infected rat The most telltale sign of the plague is the enlarged lymph nodes in the groin armpit or neck The name for the Bubonic plague originated from the name for the swollen lymph nodes Buboes The disease is also called the Black Death The reason for this nickname might have been the black spots on the skin or the purplish tint on an infected persons skin The Black Death is known as the most fatal disease of the middle agesThe bacteria called Yersinia Pestis causes the disease The whole cycle begins with an infected rat A rat flea Xenopsylla Cheopis bites the rat and the bacteria fills the stomach of the flea completely full This makes it so the flea cannot digest any blood The flea becomes so overwhelmingly hungry that it sucks blood into its already full stomach This causes the flea to vomit thus spreading the bacteria The first symptoms of infection are headaches nausea vomiting and aching joints As the disease progresses enlarged lymph nodes chills high fever 101 to 105 degrees and prostration occur The bacteria may also invade the lungs in a form of the plague pneumonic plague Pneumonic plague is rapidly fatal and can be transmitted from person to person Death may occur within about four days for bubonic plague less for pneumonic plague The mortality rate for pneumonic plague is nearly 100 while bubonic plague is 50-75The first appearances of this disease may have occurred in 542 AD but the first major outbreak did not occur until the 14th century In Europe this outbreak killed one third of Europes population--25 million people--in only 5 years In the late 1340s native people of China began dying from a mysterious illness A couple years later several Italian merchants returned from a trip to the Black Sea ill from this
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