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April 18, 2015

P is for Plague


My theme for my 2015 A to Z Challenge came from my Disaster Crimes series. Disasters are a theme in each story, so it got me thinking about all the disasters that occur from natural disasters to manmade disasters.

Today’s disaster is...
PLAGUE

Throughout history plagues have ravaged the world. I’m going to highlight a couple here.

Yellow Fever: an acute viral disease passed by mosquitoes with symptoms of fever, chills, loss of appetite, nausea, muscle pains and headaches. This fever often caused liver damage which resulted in yellow skin and eyes, and “black vomit” from stomach bleeding. The first major American epidemic occurred in Philadelphia in 1793. At the time, Philadelphia had been the most cosmopolitan city in the United States.

FACT: 5,000 out of a population of 45,000 died and another 17,000 fled Philadelphia.

READING: I read a great YA book about this: Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson. I highly recommend it to all!

The Black Death: one of the deadliest plagues in history. The origins of this plague is still unknown. Symptoms were the appearance of buboes (swelling of the lymph nodes) that oozed pus and bled. This was followed by a fever and vomiting of blood. Most people died within 2-7 days after infection. 75,000 – 200,000 people worldwide died from the Black Plague. 

FACT: Because the causes were unknown, religious persecutions followed the Black Plague, which resulted in the destruction of 60 major and 150 smaller Jewish communities in Europe.




QUESTIONS: Have you read Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson? What plagues do you recall from history? Do you live in Philadelphia? 


110 comments:

Donna McDine said...

Thanks for the book recommendation! Always looking for another great read!

CA Heaven said...

The big plague of our history was the so-called black death that came in 1349. It killed more than 50% of the population. 1349 is also the name of a black metal band, quite good actually >:)

Cold As Heaven

Rhonda Albom said...

these are the things that sometimes worry me when we travel.

sage said...

Most port cities along the east coast suffered a Yellow Fever plague or two... Wilmington, NC had one during the Civil War when a blockade runner brought it in. Charles Hodge's father, a physician and father of perhaps America's greatest theologian, died from Yellow Fever in Philadelphia (that's more info than you probably wanted to know!)! "The Seventh Seal" is an classic movie set in the Black Plague

nashvillecats2 said...

Interesting, The Black Plague is reprtedly have started on the South coast of the UK called Weymouth. I used to live there and my children was taught about it at school.
Another excellent post.
Yvonne.

Blogoratti said...

It's a great thing medicine has advanced so much from those deadly periods in time. And natural disasters are always sad to witness.

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

The plague can actually survive in the ground for a couple of centuries. That's why archaeologists don't like opening up plague cemeteries...

@TarkabarkaHolgy from
Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

Jennifer Hawes said...

I have that book! Haven't read it yet. So many books... On that last comment above, eww!! Creepy!!

Chrys Fey said...

You're welcome, Donna. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I didn't know there was a metal band named after that year. Interesting.

Chrys Fey said...

Diseases, especially the viral ones, would worry me too.

Sophie Duncan said...

I haven't read that book. 22K people out of 45K leaving or dying must have transformed Philadelphia. And about the religious persecutions, sadly, we humans are pretty good at blaming other people when we don't know why something happened.
Sophie
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles
FB3X
Wittegen Press

Chrys Fey said...

I'v never seen the movie. Not sure if I'd want to. Haha.

Chrys Fey said...

That would be interesting to live there and to learn about it in school.

Chrys Fey said...

It sure is. Medicine can do wonders now.

Chrys Fey said...

Yikes! I wouldn't want to either.

Chrys Fey said...

LOL! That is creepy, isn't it?

Tamara Narayan said...

I have read Fever 1793 and enjoyed it (though her other books on modern teenagers are even better). I think Ebola is the plague that comes to mind these days. Plus Zombies. Can't get enough zombies.

Chrys Fey said...

It did transform Philadelphia. It took a while for them to get the city back to what it had been before the fever hit.

Unfortunately, we are...

Chrys Fey said...

Ebola is a big one nowadays.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yes, we still get plagues now, which is scary.

Chrys Fey said...

Very scary. I think viral epidemics are the scariest of disasters.

Stephanie Faris said...

My all-time favorite book is Stephen King's The Stand...I think because the basic premise is eerily realistic, the way a virus wipes out the vast majority of the population.

Chrys Fey said...

I have not read that one. I'm jotting it down to check out sometime. :)

sage said...

You should watch it--it is not a horror movie (although there are elements of horror in it) but a philosophical movie and it is a classic that came out in the 1950s (and no, I didn't see it when it was first in the theater).

Pat Hatt said...

Me and my ocd will be hiding in the woods if a plague ever comes back. Now a days with air travel and such, the number of deaths from previous plagues will only be a drop in the bucket compared to what would happen now. There'd be no way to stop it before it took out millions

Cherdo said...

The 1912 diphtheria outbreak in Nome, Alaska, is one of the modern day disease disasters that come to mind. We were going over this with the kids and trying to explain what the Balto cartoon couldn't: the human toll.

jaybird said...

Plague still scares the crap out of me. This is something I am totally terrified of making a comeback...

Suzanne said...

Living in England the Black Death is the one plague that always sticks out. This one is the second one that worries me, we travel so much now a virus could circumvent the globe before 24 hours is up! x

Lisa Thomson said...

Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Cholera outbreak in Colombia is the symbolic back drop for unrequited love (at least that's how I interpreted it). I'm not sure Cholera was considered a Plague. I think it has to kill a certain % of the population to be defined as a Plague? Correct me if I'm wrong on that, Chrys ;) Interesting facts you've shared and important for historical fiction. I haven't read Fever. Must do!

Sarah Foster said...

Plagues sure are scary! I haven't read Fever 1793 but I've heard of it since I've read a few other books by the author.

Annalisa Crawford said...

It's interesting that they used vinegar to disinfect. We seem to assume plague was so virulent because people weren't aware of how the disease spread.

Annalisa, writing A-Z vignettes, at Wake Up, Eat, Write, Sleep

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Eeww! These sound horrible. Haven't read Fever but love her books.

Bevimus said...

I never knew that about Philadelphia! Learn something new!

And I've lost count of the number of programs I've watched about the black death on the history channel.

Anonymous said...

I'm so squeamish, just talking about plagues grosses me out. At the same time though, they are strangely interesting. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson is one of my favorite books, so I'll have to check out Fever 1793.

J E Oneil said...

I think these days, we call plagues "pandemics".

Chrys Fey said...

HAHA! I could picture you and your cats hiding out in the woods. :P

Unfortunately, you're right about that. That's why this one scares me the most.

Chrys Fey said...

These plagues have such a big death toll. It's truly scary knowing something else like this could happen again...like with Ebola.

Chrys Fey said...

I feel the same way.

Chrys Fey said...

That's right. With how often people travel and the fact the viruses can be airborne is a frightening thought.

Chrys Fey said...

Cholera was a very bad disease, though, that's for sure.

I tried to look it up but all I read is that a plague is "an epidemic disease causing a high rate of mortality" and "an infectious, epidemic disease caused by a bacterium, Yersinia pestis."

Chrys Fey said...

Laurie Halse Anderson is my favorite YA author.

Chrys Fey said...

They thought a lot of odd things could cure and disinfect these illnesses.

Chrys Fey said...

You should read it, Beverly, it's my favorite book by Laurie.

Chrys Fey said...

You're a history channel buff, huh? I should watch more of it. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Wintergirls was very good, but Fever 1793 is my favorite book by her. I think I like the time period and the history she writes about for this one.

Chrys Fey said...

True. But it is the same thing.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I've heard that one of the things that made the Black Death so virulent was that poor people were weak from hunger already because of some rough winters. It's scary.

Shell Flower said...

Fever 1793 sounds awesome. I've only read Speak by that author. So sad that they blamed Jews for the plague. Messed up!

Dixie@dcrelief said...

Ironically the first thing that came to mind was, 'plague of locusts.' In numbers they can destroy needed crops, resulting in mass starvation. I'm thinking there was an event in the mid-west, not sure.

Birgit said...

Plagues intrigue me and the Black Death is the most famous. I have a funny story, apparently true. In Vienna there was a man named Augustine who drank like a fish and he passed out. The men thought he died from the plague so they placed him on the wagon with the dead bodies and threw him in the pit. He woke up and noticed where he was and left in a hurry...he never got the plague! A well known song is still sung today.

Chrys Fey said...

The poor are usually the hardest hit. So sad.

Chrys Fey said...

It is really messed up. Jews were wrongly accused for a lot.

Speak is a really good book.

Chrys Fey said...

Locusts can be really bad. I remember the first time I learn about them was reading the Little House of the Prairie books.

Chrys Fey said...

Wow! To think that he was with all of those bodies infected by the plague and he was never infected. Maybe he had strong in his blood that could combat it.

Sherry Ellis said...

The Black Death would've been a horrible thing to experience. I hope we don't encounter anything like that in our lifetimes.

Jo said...

Being from England the Black Death is the one that always comes to mind for me.

Lux G. said...

It's scary really when you read things about plague. *chills*

Jeffrey Scott said...

I think I'm most familiar with the Black Plague. Wasn't the major cause rats? Rats carrying parasites that bit and infected humans. Something along those lines anyway. Didn't like reading your symptoms of the yellow fever because I was feeling a lot of those symptoms earlier today. Chills, nausea, loss of appetite. I hope I don't have yellow fever.

betty said...

I have not read that book :) The Black Plaque is the only plaque that comes to mind, Was born in Pennsylvania but never been to Philadelphia :)

betty

Liz A. said...

We were just watching a video on the bubonic plague in a biology class a couple weeks ago. Scary stuff.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

I had to get yellow fever shots before going to Africa. I never knew there had been an epidemic in the US!

And the plague sounds horrible. I didn't realize the symptoms were that bad...I thought it was basically like a flu that killed you.

Barbara In Caneyhead said...

How horrible that something as awful as the plague was followed by persecution and more death! I do know that "Ring around the rosies and pocket full of posies" actually is a rhythm about the time of the plague.
Visit me at: Life & Faith in Caneyhead
I am Ensign B of Tremps' Troops
with the A to Z Challenge

Carrie-Anne said...

I'm so, so glad I was born well after the last major outbreak of Bubonic Plague. It must've been terrifying to have lived through it. On the other hand, it's really humbling to think about how everyone of European ancestry is more than likely descended from people who were strong enough to either survive or avoid the Black Death.

Mary Kirkland said...

The black death is jut scary stuff. There are so many crazy illnesses around right now that sometimes I think that another will pop up at any time and sweep around the world.

Unknown said...

I didn't know about the destruction of jewish communities after the black plague. How sad to kill innocent people with so much death happening already. Religion can bring out the best and the worst in people.

You can find me here:
ClarabelleRant

Michele Tracy Berger said...

I have just stumbled on to your blog challenge and am enjoying it very much!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chrys - yes .. the plague is one of those disasters that just continues to stretch and upset the human race ... and by the sound of it will continue to do so. They keep finding human plague remains as they dig London up for more building!

Fascinating about Zennor - I hadn't come across that .. but I'll link back come Z for Zennor as it's my Z ... thanks for putting that in!

Loving these disaster type posts .. cheers Hilary

Anonymous said...

The plague is a scary thing. And it still exists today. At least, it's not as devastating as back then.

~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
Member of C. Lee's Muffin Commando Squad
Story Dam
Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

Cindy said...

When the subject of plagues comes up I think of the current ones..like Ebola. One thing I have noticed is that viruses that can jump between species...like bats to humans, etc. tend to be the worst ones.

Chrys Fey said...

I hope we don't either.

Chrys Fey said...

It's the one that many think of first.

Chrys Fey said...

It is scary.

Chrys Fey said...

There's speculation that it could've been rats, but nothing had been proved. At least I don't think.

I don't think Yellow Fever is going around. Maybe just the flu? Hopefully not either way.

Chrys Fey said...

It's a good book. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Oh yes, the Bubonic Plague. Very scary.

Chrys Fey said...

I think it's neat that you went to Africa.

Yup, and it was deadly too. Made a huge impact on the area were people were infected. I remember first learning a little about it in school.

Chrys Fey said...

I knew that rhyme was for death but not the plague. Interesting. And creepy.

Chrys Fey said...

That is a nice way to think of it.

Chrys Fey said...

I often think the same thing. The real scary thing is it could...

Chrys Fey said...

You can say that again!

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks, Michele!

Chrys Fey said...

How neat! I made this post months ago and totally forgot about the mention of Zennor. :)

Chrys Fey said...

We have a lot more medicine and science to combat it. Thank goodness.

Chrys Fey said...

Probably because our bodies and blood are different from that of insects, birds, etc. that we can't handle the symptoms and they become deadly. I'm guessing...

Chrys Fey said...

If I ever see it somewhere, I'll make sure to grab it. :) Thanks for the recommendation!

Nick Wilford said...

I had to have a yellow fever shot before travelling. If I'd read up about it then, I might not have gone!

Didn't the Black Death decimate one third of Europe's population at that time? I mean, that is mindblowing. And then persecution, just to add insult to injury.

Stephen Tremp said...

I have not read Fever 1793 but I see a tone of four and five star reviews at Amazon. I'll check the local library to see if they have it.

cleemckenzie said...

Just the word, plague, sounds horrifying. I can't imagine being in the midst of such a terrible disease.

Chrys Fey said...

I didn't know Yellow Fever shots were required when traveling to other countries. That's good to know!

I believe so. It is mind blowing. All of those lives...

Chrys Fey said...

It's an awesome book!

Chrys Fey said...

Plague is a frightening word, especially since illness are so easy to pass around and catch.

Unknown said...

What a great theme. It's right up my alley. I'll have to read cyclone. I don't hear that used much anymore. Tornado, hurricane but not cyclone so much now a days.
History Sleuth's Writings - Blogging A-Z

Unknown said...

These days we don't seem to have plagues, just "pandemics". They spread the same way, but aren't as deadly.

Tammy Theriault said...

The plague is so scary!! So glad we don't live in the ages where they shipped people to islands instead of finding a cure.

Tasha Duncan-Drake said...

I have to admit the only plague that ever comes to mind is The Black Death. I suppose most recent plagues are called epidemics.
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

Chrys Fey said...

Yeah, cyclone is another word for hurricane in other parts of the world. Thanks for stopping by, Cindy! :)

Chrys Fey said...

It's pretty much the same thing, just a different term. And they probably seem less deadly because of our medical advances.

Chrys Fey said...

They didn't know as much back then. I'm glad we are smarter now.

Chrys Fey said...

Yup, epidemics and pandemics are modern-day terms for plagues.

Birgit said...

Yup me thinks it was alcohol:)

Anonymous said...

No, I live in Delaware, but it's crazy to think the Yellow Plague was so close just 200 some years away.

The Black Plague reminds me of Mask of the Red Death. I love that story.

Chrys Fey said...

I've never read Mask of the Red Death.

Chrys Fey said...

Haha! Funny!

Unknown said...

Does Ebola viral disease plaguing Liberia and Sierra Leone qualify? I think it does.

S. L. Hennessy said...

I so can't help but think of the 10 plagues of Egypt...

Good luck with the A to Z Challenge!
A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy
http://pensuasion.blogspot.com/

Chrys Fey said...

It certainly does!

Chrys Fey said...

I thought of them too. ;)

diedre Knight said...

So tragic when we can't explain and therefore, blame. Ebola came to my mind first, as it did for others; luckily, we knew exactly what we were dealing with, just lacked a few procedures.

Chrys Fey said...

Ebola is the one making rounds that is on everyone's mind these days.