Fun Facts With Matthew: The Modern Plague

Matthew Drachman, Assistant Editor

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We have all probably heard of the Black Death or the Bubonic Plague. Sickness, huge blisters, half of Europe dying, people in heavy turf outfits with bird beak masks. This is what a lot of people think of when the words Black Death come to mind. However, did you know that the plague is actually still around?


Now I know that is probably not the best introduction to this first years issue of Fun Facts With Matthew; however, I think it sets the tone for this issues topic, The Plague.


The Plague has ravaged the Earth several times throughout history, killing millions and almost resulted in extinction. The most recent outbreak of the plague was in the mid 19th century however with the invention of antibiotics, plague cases today only really are seen in the thousands in South America and Africa.


However, according to the CDC, there were only nine documented cases here in the United States in 2015. Nowadays, it is a very rare disease. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get it thought.


The disease is caused by the bacteria Y. Pestis Bacilli, and is spread by fleas which hitch rides on rats or dogs. When a person is bit, the bacteria infects the host’s lymph node system.


Symptoms of this disease will show you why it is called “The Black Death.” Symptoms included chills; temperature of 103 degrees fahrenheit; muscle cramps; seizures; massive swollen lymph nodes in the groin, neck, or armpits sometimes the size of a golf ball; pain in all lymph nodes; gangrene of toes, fingers, lips or nose; heavy breathing; vomiting of blood; aching limbs; and decaying or decomposing of the skin while the victim is still alive. It makes your skin turn black, also bruising your arms and legs.


RHS Junior Angelique Cagle had this to say about the plague, “I think the plague is a very nice disease. I mean there are a few mutations to make it more effective.” She goes on to say, “It is awful. It has killed people, but disease-wise, it is a nice disease.”


A lot of students at RHS had thought you could no longer get the disease, and were surprised to hear that you could still contract the disease. Some thought that it had been eradicated like Smallpox.


RHS Senior Kimball Tracy had this to say about it, “I feel bad for those people who have gotten it today.”