New Theories Link Black Death to Ebola-Like Virus. Between 1347 and 1352, a mysterious disease ravaged Europe, killing an estimated 25 million people -- 30 percent to 50 percent of the population.
At the time, people said the disease was caused by a peculiar conjunction of the planets, by a miasma stirred up by earthquakes in Central Asia or by a conspiracy of Jews to undermine Christendom. Many called it the wrath of God and expected the end of the world. Although the pandemic now called the Black Death lasted no more than six years, according to most medieval historians, the disease behind it erupted periodically in different parts of Europe for the next three centuries, leaving millions more dead in its wake.
Then it largely vanished from the continent, but questions over its origins remained. In 1894, two scientists, Dr. Dr. Was Ebola Behind the Black Death? Controversial new research suggests that contrary to the history books, the "Black Death" that devastated medieval Europe was not the bubonic plague, but rather an Ebola-like virus.
History books have long taught the Black Death, which wiped out a quarter of Europe's population in the Middle Ages, was caused by bubonic plague, spread by infected fleas that lived on black rats. But new research in England suggests the killer was actually an Ebola-like virus transmitted directly from person to person.
The Black Death killed some 25 million Europeans in a devastating outbreak between 1347 and 1352, and then reappeared periodically for more than 300 years. Scholars had thought flea-infested rats living on ships brought the disease from China to Italy and then the rest of the continent. But researchers Christopher Duncan and Susan Scott of the University of Liverpool say that the flea-borne bubonic plague could not have torn across Europe the way the Black Death did. Ebola-Like Symptoms Cited. Ebola virus: 9 things to know about the killer disease.
"It is a highly infectious virus that can kill up to 90% of the people who catch it, causing terror among infected communities," it says.
There is also no vaccination against it. Of Ebola's five subtypes, the Zaire strain -- the first to be identified -- is considered the most deadly. What is Ebola? The Ebola virus causes viral hemorrhagic fever, which according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), refers to a group of viruses that affect multiple organ systems in the body and are often accompanied by bleeding. Ebola Fast Facts. Facts:Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a disease caused by one of five different Ebola viruses.
Four of the strains can cause severe illness in humans and animals. The fifth, Reston virus, has caused illness in some animals, but not in humans. Ebola is extremely infectious but not extremely contagious. It is infectious, because an infinitesimally small amount can cause illness. Laboratory experiments on nonhuman primates suggest that even a single virus may be enough to trigger a fatal infection. Ebola could be considered moderately contagious, because the virus is not transmitted through the air.
Humans can be infected by other humans if they come in contact with body fluids from an infected person or contaminated objects from infected persons. While the exact reservoir of Ebola viruses is still unknown, researchers believe the most likely natural hosts are fruit bats. Symptoms of Ebola typically include: weakness, fever, aches, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain. Italy - 1 case, 0 deaths. Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever. Medieval “Black Death” Was Airborne, Scientists Say - History in the Headlines.
Print Cite Article Details:Medieval “Black Death” Was Airborne, Scientists Say Author Sarah Pruitt Website Name History.com Year Published 2014 Title Medieval “Black Death” Was Airborne, Scientists Say URL Access Date March 25, 2016 Publisher A+E Networks The so-called Black Death arrived in Britain from central Asia in the autumn of 1348.
Believed to be bubonic plague, spread by infected fleas carried on rats, the disease swept through Europe over the better part of the next year. One of history’s most devastating epidemics, it killed an estimated 75 million people, including six in every 10 Londoners. Now, analysis of skeletal remains found by construction workers digging railway tunnels in central London has led scientists to a stunning new conclusion: The Black Death was not transmitted through flea bites at all, but was an airborne plague spread through the coughs, sneezes and breath of infected human victims.
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