The Plague may have not ravaged Britain for hundreds of years, but you can still catch the deadly disease in places across the globe.
Nine countries reported a total of 626 cases of the plague last year, including 127 deaths, according from figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO).The most endemic country was Madagascar with 482 cases of the infection and 112 deaths, followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Squirrels and prairie dogs were blamed for the deadly outbreak.Other countries who reported cases in 2014 were Peru, China, Bolivia, Uganda, Tanzania and Russia.Breakouts of the plague have occurred in Africa, Asia and South America, but since the 1990s the disease has been largely confined to Africa.
People infected with the plague usually develop “flu-like” symptoms after an incubation period of three to seven days.
The disease comes in three forms depending on the route of infection – bubonic, septicaemia and pneumonic.
Pneumonic plague is the most deadly, with bacteria infecting the lungs and causing pneumonia.
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, resulting in an estimated 75 to 200million deaths across Europe between 1346–53.Its victims were covered in huge weeping boils, swollen lymph glands, gangrene and rotting limbs and eventually succumbed to a slow an painful death.
The Great Plague of London between 1665 and 1666 was the last major endemic of the bubonic plague in England, which killed about 100,000 people – almost a quarter of London’s population.
The disease, which had continued to struck every 30 years or so, was finally defeated after the Great Fire of London.
The plague is caused by a bacteria called Yersinia Pestis, a zoonotic bacteria usually found in small animals and their fleas.
Almost all the cases recorded in the last 20 years have occurred among people living in small towns and villages or agricultural areas.
While it is widely agreed that the deadly disease is carried by rats and fleas, sensational claims the plague was triggered by an asteroid impact recently debunked the theory.
Experts even warned another collision could happen “at any moment”, sparking a mass outbreak of the disease capable of wiping out entire populations.
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