One of the worst pandemics in human history, the Black Death, along with a string of plague outbreaks that occurred during the 14th to 19th centuries, was spread by human fleas and body lice, a new study suggests.
Where did the Black Death come from and spread to?
Arguably the most infamous plague outbreak was the so-called Black Death, a multi-century pandemic that swept through Asia and Europe. It was believed to start in China in 1334, spreading along trade routes and reaching Europe via Sicilian ports in the late 1340s.
How easily did the Black Death spread?
They have compared these results to the overland transmission speeds of the twentieth-century bubonic plague and have found that the Black Death travelled at 1.5 to 6 kilometres per day—much faster than any spread of Yersinia pestis in the twentieth century.
How did Black Death start?
In October 1347, a ship came from the Crimea and Asia and docked in Messina, Sicily. Aboard the ship were not only sailors but rats. The rats brought with them the Black Death, the bubonic plague.
How did the Black Death spread to Europe?
The disease originated in central Asia and was taken to the Crimea by Mongol warriors and traders. The plague then entered Europe via Italy, carried by rats on Genoese trading ships sailing from the Black Sea. The disease was caused by a bacillus bacteria, Yersinia pestis, and carried by fleas on rodents.
How quickly did the Black Death spread through Europe?
Five years later, some 25 to 50 million people were dead. One of the worst plagues in history arrived at Europe’s shores in 1347. Five years later, some 25 to 50 million people were dead. Nearly 700 years after the Black Death swept through Europe, it still haunts the world as the worst-case scenario for an epidemic.
How far did the Black Death spread?
From Crimea, it was most likely carried by fleas living on the black rats that travelled on Genoese ships, spreading through the Mediterranean Basin and reaching North Africa, Western Asia, and the rest of Europe via Constantinople, Sicily, and the Italian Peninsula.
How fast did the Black Death spread in Europe?
How quickly did the Black Death spread? It is thought that the Black Death spread at a rate of a mile or more a day, but other accounts have measured it in places to have averaged as far as eight miles a day.
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