Plague That Caused Black Death Detected in China; Here’s What It Meant Simplified for You

COVID-19 might have killed people and lives, but it does change society for the better.

For example, I can finally write this article at home instead of having my boss standing behind me, correcting my every word.

It’s also made us wash our hands after using the toilet.

Reader: You didn’t do that before COVID-19?

I was referring to my reader.

You see, even before COVID-19, viruses and bacteria live among us, though they primarily kill people and create jobs (think: doctors and nurses) instead killing them. This means this article shouldn’t be written in the first place since the bacterium causing this plague is still living amongst us, and it’s older than William Shakespeare.

So if you’ve come into this article, thinking that another COVID-19 is on its way, we’ve managed to clickbait you effectively, so you can go off now.

Still here? Well, here goes.

Difference Between Viruses and Bacteria

Bubonic plague sounds scary, and it indeed was back in the 14th century.

To understand this article, you need to know the difference between viruses and bacteria.

Viruses, like the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, cannot live by themselves; instead, they need to “attach” themselves to a host cell (like us) to survive long-term and reproduce. Just think of them as a parasite. And because they need to infect a cell to survive, they usually cause diseases. For example, the coronavirus, officially known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), causes the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

Bacteria are different; they’re way bigger than viruses and can survive on their own, so they’re merely super tiny organism (though they just have one cell) gathering around many places like Robertson Quay. Unlike viruses, they don’t commonly cause diseases; only 1% of them cause disease. In fact, many of them are helpful in society; for example, goody bacteria can help us digest our food. As you read this now, over 100 trillion bacteria are either in your body and around you now.

When you have a viral infection, the virus attaches itself to your cell and reproduce, and because they’re a greedy batch, they’ll want to reproduce and attach to as many cells as possible, including your friends.

For a bacterial infection, they just kind of reproduce inside your body by themselves, so you can think of them as tiny little ants creating a colony in your body. When you’ve one, you can take antibiotics that’ll kill those these baddy bacteria living in your body.

So why the science lesson here?

Because this latest thingy is not caused by viruses by bacteria.

Plague: A Scary Name But It’s Just the Name of a Disease Caused by Bacteria

A plague is essentially the disease caused by a bacterium called Yersinia pestis. There are three types of diseases: the bubonic plague, the septicemic plague and the pneumonic plague.

Only the pneumonic plague can be transmitted from humans to humans.

But when you see the word plague, you might think that 2020 is the end of the world, but that’s because you didn’t download the Goody Feed app to read more chim articles simplified for you.

While mortality rates were high in the past, it’s now at 1% to 15% if treated early with antibiotics. The reason why it sounds scary is its association with the Black Death back in the 14th century, when it killed about 50 million people.

Image: Pinterest

However, now, there are only about 600 cases reported annually.

But why was it so serious back in the past?

Unlike the coronavirus, it’s rare (but still possible) for the disease to be spread to another human through direct contact with infected tissue or exposure to the cough of another human. It’s usually spread after a person is bitten by a flea that’s infected with the bacteria, and that flea could be living in your cats’ fur.

The fleas usually live in rodents, and back in the days when Mickey Mouse hadn’t been born yet, rodents roam around the streets and houses very often, spreading the fleas left right centre.

Reader Bao: Okay, now I know a lot of about plague le. Are you going to go back to 2020 and tell us what the hell happened a few days ago?

No, not yet. You see, despite what happened during the Black Death, the bubonic plague can still lead to a pandemic, like what happened in 1855 in China and 1894 in Hong Kong. In both cases, it’s caused primarily by rodents doing what the folks in Robertson Quay have done.

So technically, if we don’t come in close contact with rodents (or to be more specific, the fleas, which we might not be able to see), the transmission can be stopped.

So much better than having to wear a mask, eh?

Now, to the meat of this article:

Herdsman in Inner Mongolia Confirmed to be Infected with Bubonic Plague

Yesterday, Chinese health officials said that a herdsman in Inner Mongolia was confirmed to be infected with bubonic plague, and he’s undergoing treatment in a hospital now.

So why is this news when about 600 people are infected annually?

For a start, we’re now in the midst of a pandemic now, and if this is left unchecked, it can lead to two pandemics, and you’d hate 2020 even more.

Secondly, the Bayannur city health commission issued a third-level alert, the second-lowest in a four-level system. For this alert, people are warned not to hunt, eat or transport potentially infected animals, particularly marmots, and to report any dead or diseased rodents.

And thirdly, it’s a timely reminder for us to take hygiene seriously, and start washing our hands after using the toilet.

Reader Bao: So it’s nothing to worry about?

That was when we all thought when COVID-19 was called the Wuhan virus.

For example, the plague can make a comeback when too many rodents have died, which led to the infected fleas to look for new places to stay in, like our hair and our pillow.

So wash your hands, and your hair, more, please.