Monday, January 24, 2011

Rats and Plague

Scientific American magazine has a regular feature where they reprint news articles and stories from 50, 100 and 150 years ago. In the February 2011 edition they reprinted this article entitled 'Rats and Plague' from the February 1911 issue

ALTHOUGH the recent epidemics of bubonic plague in China, India, and other parts of the world have been always associated with outbreaks of the same disease among rats, the historical study of plague throughout the world reveals the singular fact that previous to 1800 very few references to a coincident mortality among rats have been put on record. Many excellent accounts of the older outbreaks, notably of the Black Death in Europe in 1347, and the Great Plague of London in 1665, are in existence, but careful research into these documents by modern historiographers — Haeser, Hirsch, Abel, and Sticker — has shown that for reasons difficult to discover very scanty mention of associated rat mortality has been made.

Check out the full article. This is a nice trailer for our next lecture.

No comments: