Sanitation During the Black Death

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The Sanitation Problems of the Black Death
The bubonic plague is a bacterial disease that is considered one of the most lethal in history. Recorded pandemics of the plague reach back to 541 A.D. and minor epidemics can still be found around the world (Plague). The plague consists of a bacterium called Yersinia pestis. This bacterium has the ability to mutate quickly and can easily destroy the immune system of the infected person, “it does this by injecting toxins into defense cells such as macrophages that are tasked with detecting bacterial infections. Once these cells are knocked out, the bacteria can multiply unhindered.” (Plague) The bubonic plague has a number of symptoms ranging from a headache to seizures. The most distinguishable
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Fleas would travel from one host to another breeding and expanding to all realms of Europe (The Black Death, a Bubonic Plague of Great Dimension) Sanitation was a serious problem within Europe and the lack of proper care escalated the rodent problem even farther. During the pandemic of bubonic plague sanitation was at an all-time low. Cities suffered the greatest, with the disease spreading quickly. The lack of a safe system for waste disposal in these areas allowed for the disease to spread rapidly. The use of chamber pots was an example of the poor waste disposal. Chamber pots were small to medium sized bowls used for holding excretion. The contents of the chamber pots would then be tossed into the streets. Both sides of the streets were lined with trenches that would hold the human waste and other garbage; this became the perfect opportunity for disease to flourish. “Almost everyone used privies or chamber pots, which were emptied into open sewers that typically fed into streams, creeks, or adjacent rivers” (Streich). Not only was the filth repulsive in smell, but it also carried other airborne diseases which weakened the immune system thus a more catastrophic impact on the peasants. By the second year of pandemic the plague had killed an estimated 25 million (Plague) of the peasantry, nobility, and clergy. Nobody was immune to the disease. The poor sanitation became a massive issue with the lack of
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