Introduction and History

The bubonic plague is a severe infection in humans and many species of rodents. It is caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis (formerly known as Pasteurella pestis). Plague pneumonia, or pneumonic plague, is caused by the same bacteria as bubonic plague but the victim becomes infected by inhaling infected droplets from the lungs of someone whose plague infection has spread to the respiratory system. This is the most contagious form of the disease and the form that progresses most rapidly, with death usually occurring in less than three days in virtually all untreated cases. 

For hundreds of years, children have chanted this rhyme, without ever realizing its meaning:

Ring around the rosies,
A pocket full of posies,
Ashes, ashes!
We all fall down. 

The rosies referred to rosary beads, used for praying for help. The buboes released an offensive odour, the posies, flowers, were carried to mask the stench. Ashes derived from the burning of corpses. Fall down symbolizes dying people. 

There were three major epidemics of the bubonic plague in history. In 542, there was the Plague of Justinian. It killed 70,000 people in the city of Constantinople, in two years. Once it killed 1,000 people in a single week. Fifty-two years following the Plague of Justinian, smaller outbreaks continued to arise, until 1340. In 1346-50 Europe, the most devastating outbreak of bubonic plague occurred, the ‘Black Death.’ By the end of 1348, all of Italy and most of France was infested with the plague. From England, it spread to Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, and most of Germany. In 1351, it reached Russia. About 25 million people, one third of the population of Europe was killed by the ‘Black Death.’

In 1563, the bubonic plague hit England. About 20,000 Londoners were killed. Later in 1603, it reappeared and killed 30,500 Londoners. The third major epidemic occurred in 1890, in Manchuria. It reached San Francisco in 1900. In the end, 12,597,789 people, mainly in India and Asia, were killed. Overall, the bubonic plague killed 137 million people, and outbreaks, though small, are still occurring.

The modern day issue: Bed Bugs.

More info at

This is a bed bug infestation taken from Remove Bed Bugs Guide.

Contact info: sailorj3(at)hotmail(dot)com
Site created on January 1998.
Site moved to google sites on September 2010.