There are many examples of epidemics in history. Probably the most famous such example is the Black Death, or bubonic plague, that decimated fourteenth-century Europe. It has been estimated that this outbreak killed a third to more than a half of the population of Europe at the time. Bubonic plague is caused by a bacteria called Yersinia pestis and was conveyed, in this particular case, by infected fleas carried by common sewer rats. Death from bubonic plague generally resulted from pneumonia and related respiratory failure or overwhelming systemic infection.
- Q How many cases of an illness make an epidemic?
- Q What are vectors, and how do they play a role in an epidemic?
- Q Are there any historical epidemic diseases that no longer exist?
- Q What is an outbreak?
- Q Are all infectious epidemics caused by bacteria or viruses?
- Q What role do microorganisms play in epidemics?