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Old January 17th, 2018, 09:10 PM   #11

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Originally Posted by authun View Post
260 people died of Bubonic Plague in Eyam in Derbyshire in the 1660s. The village became exposed when infected fleas were released from a bale of damp cloth which had been sent up from London.

Rats play a part in a chain. The bacillus kills the rats too. They are not immune. But when rats die in their burrows, the bacillus survives and when new rats inhabit the burrow, they become infected again. Rats didn't walk from London to Derbyshire though and the observed 'leaps' from one place to another have to be mediated by some other mechanism.
There's another plague thread talking about this report.

I studied some epidemiology in school for a few years. I wrote up a little plague "fact" .. and a one line interpretation of the report. It's over simplified.
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Old January 18th, 2018, 12:35 AM   #12
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There's another plague thread talking about this report.
Well it is primarily discussing the transmission of the bacillus and is using the Black Death 13471353 as its starting point. Bubonic plague has 2nd and 3rd reoccurances due to the persistence of the bacillus. If the first outbreak is spread by flea borne rats what other mechanisms exist for spreading it in later outbreaks? The question asked is, how can rat borne fleas be solely responsible when we have documented evidence of transmission by fleas in a bale of wool? The 2nd pandemic, the multiple reoccurances of the 14th to 19th cents are the best documented and that's why they can use it. They conclude also transmission by human borne fleas and lice.

The Justinian Plague of the 6th century is really only identifiable from Procopius of Caesarea. The reoutbreak in 7th century anglo saxon england only gets a couple of line mentions in the contemporary texts, there is no data with which any analysis can be made.

Procopius: The Plague, 542
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Old January 18th, 2018, 07:43 AM   #13

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Thank you for that informative post, Dios.

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You all know this little child's song is about plague, right?
Ring around the rosey
Pocket full of posey
Ashes, ashes, we all fall down
I think that it should be pointed out that while the children's rhyme you mention is supposed by some to have its origin in the plague, folklorists do not believe that is accurate.

"Ring Around the Rosie: Metafolklore, Rhyme and Reason" | Folklife Today/US Library of Congress

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A recent blog post at Londonist describes “Five London Nursery Rhymes Depicting Death and Ruin.” The rhymes in question have diverse origins and histories, but what seems incontrovertible from James FitzGerald’s work is that they describe dark and portentous matters from English history.

Or do they? Looking closely at these rhymes, and at scholarship surrounding them, suggests other interpretations. I’ll discuss one of the rhymes in particular, because it tells us interesting things about folklore and our ideas about folklore: “Ring Around the Rosie,” or “Ring-a-Ring-a-Roses,” as it’s sometimes known.

FitzGerald’s text goes like this:
Ring-a-ring-a-roses,
A pocket full of posies,
A-tishoo! A-tishoo!
We all fall down.
FitzGerald states emphatically that this rhyme arose from the Great Plague, an outbreak of pneumonic plague that affected London in the year 1665:
Ring-a-Ring-a-Roses is all about the Great Plague; the apparent whimsy being a foil for one of London’s most atavistic dreads (thanks to the Black Death). The fatalism of the rhyme is brutal: the roses are a euphemism for deadly rashes, the posies a supposed preventative measure; the a-tishoos pertain to sneezing symptoms, and the implication of everyone falling down is, well, death.
This interpretation emerged in the mid-twentieth century, and has become widespread, but it has never been accepted by folklorists, for several reasons. First, like most folklore items, this rhyme exists in many versions and variants. This allows us to ask whether the specific images associated with the plague occur in all or even most versions. It turns out they don’t. Many versions have no words that sound like sneezes, and many versions don’t mention falling down. For example, Iona and Peter Opie give an 1883 version (in which “curchey” is dialect for “curtsey”):
A ring, a ring o’roses
A pocket full of posies
One for Jack and one for Jim and one for little Moses
A curchey in and a curchey out
And a curchey all together
[Continues . . .]
An article from Snopes also discusses this misconception and its origin, as do many other sources.
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Old January 18th, 2018, 07:55 AM   #14

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TY for your correction on lice.
My pleasure, Disciple of Sophia.
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Old January 18th, 2018, 09:08 AM   #15

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Originally Posted by Recusant View Post
Thank you for that informative post, Dios.



I think that it should be pointed out that while the children's rhyme you mention is supposed by some to have its origin in the plague, folklorists do not believe that is accurate.

"Ring Around the Rosie: Metafolklore, Rhyme and Reason" | Folklife Today/US Library of Congress



An article from Snopes also discusses this misconception and its origin, as do many other sources.
The same in German

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Old January 18th, 2018, 10:21 AM   #16

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maybe it was a combination of factors. It clearly was a viruent strain, and maybe it consumed the people and animals of a location, including rats. People travelling, as well as rats in holds of ships, could have spread it.

That said, rats don't travel that fast. Once rats have an ample food supply, they don't need to travel far. There may be some truth in this theory, as rats alone cannot spread across a continent this quickly.
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Old January 18th, 2018, 11:39 AM   #17

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From Samuel Pepys diaries , there is the comment that the first victims were rats and dogs dying in great number .
it would seems possible than the orphaned lice had to seek new hosts ,
people would hardly differentiate if the lice biting them was their own or some lice refugee

it would explain the fast rise in the infection
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Old January 18th, 2018, 11:46 AM   #18

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On the Western Front in WW1, infestation by rats and lice was a major problem. British Tommies nicknamed lice "chats". German soldiers also suffered from lice infestation. Strangely, both sides had different coloured lice. British lice were red. German lice were light golden brown.
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Old January 18th, 2018, 11:53 AM   #19
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I have nothing intelligent to say about the OP, but a couple of tangential comments on your post.

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It makes sense that plague spreads by human fleas, but it is well documented that it spreads by rodent fleas as well, and does so to this day.
I don't think there is such a thing as human fleas. As you say, we can be bitten by fleas caught from our animals, but they can't live on humans.

There are certainly lice adapted to humans, but I don't think any fleas.

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Everyone knows about Lyme disease (spread by a tiny nymph phase of a tic) mostly in the East. The more tropical you are, the scarier things get.
Lyme disease is not only spread by nymphs. Adults are more likely to be carriers than nymphs, but nymphs are smaller and so less likely to be noticed and removed. A tick needs to spend hours feeding on you to have a reasonable chance of passing on a disease (here in Europe they carry a viral encephalitis in addition to Lyme disease), so smaller nymphs have more chance of doing so.

You've also just reminded me that this absurdly warm winter will mean a tick-fest this year. Need to get the dog an anti-parasite collar promptly.
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Old January 18th, 2018, 12:19 PM   #20

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I don't think there is such a thing as human fleas. As you say, we can be bitten by fleas caught from our animals, but they can't live on humans.
It appears that you didn't read my post earlier in this thread. Let me formally introduce you to Pulex irritans aka "human flea" aka "house flea."
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