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Brown rats, black rats, spotted fever

K. Weber kweber at efn.org
Sat Dec 21 12:23:10 EST 1996

I think I'm working around the concept that there may have been no single
organism which did much more than predominate in the black death epidemic.
There is material about this in Defoe and as soon as I can get a print
copy of the book, we may be able to have a more substantive discussion
about it.  

The question seems to be one that is currently relevent to the AIDS and
ME/CFIDS epidemics.  We know what the illnesses are and there seem to be
many collateral organisms.  Which aspects of the diseases are caused by
which viruses?  In the second week of the plague, there were some fifty
nine deaths--I may find out that I may be off by one or two when I get the
book.  I read everything on tape and it is hard to go back and find data.  

Of the fifty nine deaths, only nine or so were initially determined to be
the plague.  The rest were spotted fever and other illnesses in unusually
high numbers.  A second examination found I believe eleven more who were
thought to have the plague.  Personally I would trust the first
examination more.  There were two groups of people during the plague.
There were the ones who believed it to be a visitation from God to an
unrepentant people.  These people packed the churches and ran around in
the streets half crazed.  It was necessary to convince the people that
there was a single infection as much as possible so that people would take
ordinary precautionary measures against an infectious humour.  The number
of illnesses involved in the early deaths might be expected to cause a

The idea that the epidemic was caused by rats or fleas is a modern one.
Londoners killed all animals they could catch--this was in the winter when
the cold ought to have killed most fleas.  They killed forty thousand dogs
and a hundred and sixty thousand cats plus all the mice and rats they
could catch.

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