by Anna Raccoon
Note: I’m not convinced by the claim that plague and bubonic plague are not the same. Differences in symptoms and mortality rates may not mean very much. The 14th century Black Death and the 17th century plagues wiped out virtually everyone who had no resistance. We are the descendants of the survivors, and have probably inherited some resistance to the infection. It’s the same with the rats. That in itself would explain slower transmission rates, and lower rates of infection and mortality.
Syphilis was much more virulent on its first appearance at the end of the 15th century. Infections comparatively harmless to Europeans and Asians appear to have wiped out over 90 per cent of the native populations in South America during the 16th century.
Of course, infections also change over time. A bacterium is unlikely to survive for very long when it kills its host before it can spread to another. Therefore, changes in the nature of the bacterium and growing resistance of its victims will, over time, transform catastrophic pandemics into endemic problems. SIG Continue reading