This is the twenty-fourth of thirty-one readers used in the Veritas Press Phonics Museum program, designed for first grade.
They got black spots on their skin, and many had raw sores.
Because of the black spots, they began calling the sickness the Black Death.
Thousands got the sickness and it made thousands die.
The bubonic plague first visited Europe from 1345-48, taking as many as two-thirds of the populations of some prominent towns (e.g., Florence). The plague takes its name from bubos, distinctive boils that appear around the lymph nodes of infected victims. The disease is caused by the bucillus bacteria (first isolated by Louis Pasteur, hence the name pasturella pestis) which lives in the stomach of a flea which is peculiar only to black rats. The fleas also flourished in the thatched roofs that covered many town buildings in Europe. People who contracted the disease from fleas would have a 70% chance of dying in 7-10 days. Exposure to the blood of an infected person led to a condition that was 100% fatal within 8 to 48 hours. A pneumonic form developed, passed in the air, which was 100% fatal within hours of exposure.
In the 1330s, a population of black rats exploded in China, overran their natural confines, and found their way to trade routs. They arrived in Crimea on trade ships. A Genoese trade ship returned from there, stopped off at Messina in Sicily, and the whole island was decimated by plague. When the ship arrived in Genoa, the plague hit the continent. Another ship left Genoa for Marseilles; it was denied moorage because much of its crew died en route. Here the rats found their way to land anyway, likely by swimming or on tenders. The plague later arrived in England through the port of Bristol.
The death rate among those pious churchmen who ministered to the sick was high; many of those who did not perform works of mercy were spared. The generation following the plague corresponds to an increase in church corruption that would contribute to the need for reformation.
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