Arizona Monitoring 1,000 People After Potential Measles Exposure

January 28, 2015 10:30 PM

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Arizona Monitoring 1,000 People After Potential Measles Exposure

Yes, the black plague -- responsible for killing 56 million people in Europe the 14th century -- is still around, but it isn't as deadly or prevalent as it was in Medieval times. Dr. Robert Gaynes, an infectious disease expert at Emory University and author of the book Germ Theory: Medical Pioneers in Infectious Diseases, said that people contract the disease when they gain access to previously undistrubed ecosystems, thereby making "these types of diseases become evident as a result of animal contact." These days, the disease is most commonly spread by bites from fleas that are infected with Yersinia pestis. When the bacteria enters into a person's skin, it leads to headache, chills, and swollen lymph glands, according to the CDC. Early treatment with antibiotics is essential for survival, as the disease can cause respiratory failure and shock if left untreated. Every year, about 1,000 to 3,000 bubonic plague cases occur around the world, with 10 to 20 of those cases in the United States, TIME reported. The first 2011 case of bubonic plague was confirmed in May in a New Mexico man. The reason is murky for why black plague seems to be less deadly today than in the Medieval times, Weinberg said, but it probably has to do with more rats and unclean living conditions back then, as well as a lack of appropriate medicines. In addition, the bacteria back then may be different from the current form, he added.

Scarlet fever was among the rash of diseases that commonly afflicted people in the 19th century (alongside yellow fever, rubella and measles), according to MedicineNet. Scarlet fever most often afflicts children, causing rash and fever. Fortunately, scarlet fever is a lot less common today than it w...

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