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Dar Es Salaam Medical Students' Journal

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The Black Death

FS Matemu

Abstract


Introduction
Bubonic plague is a deadly bacterial disease that causes fever and painful swollen lymph nodes called buboes. The disease also causes spots on the skin that are red at first and then turn black. The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Although there were several competing theories
as to the etiology of the Black Death, it has been conclusively proven via analysis of ancient DNA from plague victims in northern and southern Europe that the pathogen responsible is the Yersinia pestis bacterium that causes bubonic plague.
Objectives
The aim of this paper is:
1. To describe the risks of getting the disease (Bubonic plague)
2. To describe the magnitude and impact of Bubonic Plague
3. To describe the pathogenesis of bubonic plague
4.To describe different ways of managing and controlling the disease clinically

Methodology
This paper is a product of literature review from journals, books and Internet search.
Results
From 1987-2001, the World Health Organization reported an annual average of 38,876 cases of the plague with 2847 deaths worldwide. The number of actual cases was probably much higher, given the failure of many countries to diagnose and report plague. Most cases occur in the developing countries of Africa and Asia. Recent outbreaks of plague have
occurred in Vietnam, India, Algeria, Madagascar, and the northeastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. [2] During 2000-2001, 95% of the world's cases occurred in Africa. Bubonic plague has a 1-15% mortality rate in treated cases and a 40-60% mortality rate in untreated cases.
Conclusions
Bubonic plague is a threat to man. This disease is very virulent due to its rapid nature of transmission and very high mortality rate if untreated.




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