Tag Archives: epidemic

China Seals Off 30,000 People After A Man Dies of Bubonic Plague

The Chinese government has sealed off about 30,000 residents in parts of Yumen, a city in northeast China.

The move comes a week after a 38-year-old man died from the bubonic plague (also known as the black death). The man is said to have contracted the disease after coming in contact with a marmot- a rodent similar to the groundhog.

Residents have been told they cannot leave the area, and police have set up roadblocks to enforce that decree. Yumen has a population of 100,000 people, but only certain portions of the city have been isolated.

One of the police blockades

Besides the 30,000 people sealed off, the government has also put 151 people who had direct contact with the man under quarantine.

There is no word yet on how long the situation will last, but city officials have said they have enough rice, flour and oil to supply the 30,000 residents for a month.

China has sent in hundreds of extra “standby” medical workers to help contain the plague

Although the bubonic plague is rare in China, it is not totally unheard of. Since 2009, there have been an estimated 12 cases in China, with four deaths.

The plague can work extremely fast, sometimes killing a person within 24 hours of the initial infection. However, modern antibiotics have proven effective in treating the disease if it is detected quickly. Beijing officials say the chances of the outbreak spreading are low.

Check out the original story from the Daily Mail here.

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New Discovery: The Black Death Was Not Spread By Rats, Must Have Been Airborne

In the autumn of 1348, The Black Death came to Britain from east Asia. By the next spring, it had killed 6 out of every 10 people in London.

It has long been thought that the plague spread via flea-infested rats, but a new discovery has prompted scientists to revise this theory.

Amidst pre-construction excavations for a train line in Charterhouse Square (to the north of the City of London) about a year ago, workers discovered 25 skeletons which were found to have been from the time of the plague.

Scientists were able to extract samples of the plague bacterium, Yersinia pestis, from the teeth of the skeletons, and compared it to a strain of the plague which recently killed about 60 people in Madagascar.

One of the skulls used to extract Black Death DNA (Photo: Philip Toscano/PA)

They expected that the strain from the 14th century would be far more virulent, because of how devastating it was when it hit London, but found instead that it was no more virulent than the strain from Madagascar (their DNA code was almost a perfect match).

The researchers realized that the only way the plague could have spread as fast as it did was for the disease to have been airborne, getting into the lungs and then being spread by coughs and sneezes.

Here’s Dr. Tim Brooks, who’s been leading the research:

“As an explanation [rat fleas] for the Black Death in its own right, it simply isn’t good enough. It cannot spread fast enough from one household to the next to cause the huge number of cases that we saw during the Black Death epidemics.”

Read the full story from The Guardian here.

The Coolest Places on Earth: Machu Pichu, Peru (Pictures)

Machu Pichu is a 15th-century Inca site located in the Andes Mountains in Southeast Peru. Click an image to enlarge.

Bonus picture: wild llama roam freely around the site, which led to this epic photo-bomb that I just had to share.

machu pichu13

Most archaeologists believe Machu Pichu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti who ruled from 1438-1472.

It was built around 1450 but abandoned a century later when the Spanish invaded the region.

The combination of the Spanish invaders, as well as a number of epidemics of European diseases including influenze, typhus, diptheria, measles and multiple outbreak of smallpox led to the fall of the Inca Empire in the late 16th-century.