In the journal Nature in June 2022, researchers have claimed that the Black Death one of the deadliest epidemics in the history of humankind originated in modern day northern Kyrgyzstan around 1338-1339 nearly 7-8 years before it ravaged large parts of the world.
- The term Black Death refers to the bubonic plague that spread across Western Asia, Northern Africa, Middle East and Europe in 1346-53.
- The Black Death was caused by bacterium Yersinia pestis and was spread by fleas that were carried by rodent hosts.
- The microorganism Y. pestis spread to human populations, who at some point transmitted it to others either through the vector of a human flea or directly through the respiratory system.
- Symptoms: Researchers often described the buboes (hard, inflamed lymph nodes) as the distinguishing clinical feature.
- The onset of symptoms was followed by intense fever and vomiting of blood.
- After the initial infection, most victims died within 2-7 days.
- It is commonly believed that the term Black Death gets its name from the black marks that appeared on some of the plague victims’ bodies.
- Around 60-65 per cent of Europe’s population or 52 million people died due to the plague.
- A dramatic reduction in population was accompanied with huge economic and social changes in Europe.
- With a smaller labour force available, wages went up, leaving ordinary people with a higher economic surplus.
- The Black Death also led to an increase in religious persecution of the Jews, who were blamed for spreading the contagion.