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Three Epidemics Throughout History For various reasons throughout history and throughout the world humans have been devastated by pandemics epidemics and endemics that have nearly wiped out populations entirely This paper will overview just a few of the most devastating of these epidemics which will include the black plague smallpox and cholera Black Plague 1347-1844 The most devastating of all epidemics was the black plague or bubonic plague which actually turned into a pandemic In 1347 rats and fleas boarded Italian Genoese merchant ships at Caffa on the Black Sea These ships passed through the Dardanelles sailed to Messina Sicily Pisa Genoa Marseilles and to Egypt As 1348 wore on trading continued and by then plague had begun striking populations along the Atlantic and Baltic coasts Then it traveled across fields and reached people living deep in the interior of their countries Watts 1 Asia the Middle East and Europe were greatly devastated by the plague There are three types of plague bubonic pneumonic and septicemic The first symptoms are headache nausea vomiting and aching joints The lymph nodes of the groin armpit andor neck become painful and swollen to approximately the size of chicken eggs The temperature rises to 101-105 degrees Fahrenheit accompanied by chills The pulse and respiration rate are increased In nonfatal cases the temperature begins to fall in about five days and becomes normal in two weeks In fatal cases death results in about four days In pneumonic plague death usually occurs in two to three days after the first appearance of symptoms In septicemic plague the victim has a sudden onset of high fever and turns deep purple in several hours often dying within the same day The purple color is due to respiratory failure which is where the name black death came from Encarta npag There were many responses to this epidemic many of which were not scientific Some believed that afflictions of the soul or astrological imbalances
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