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great plague of london 1665

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The Great Plague of London 1665
It was the last of the biggest epidemics of the bubonic plague that occurred in the English Kingdom between 1665 and 1666. The epidemic that was the plague killed about 100,000 people which made up about 25% of London’s population CITATION Ope15 l 1033 (Open Collections Program: Contagion).
London was at the time made up of a big city with walls around it. The city consisted of areas of great contrasting lifestyles and standards ranging from upper class estates in Whitehall and Convent garden, town houses to the lower class settlement areas crowded with poor people. The sanitation was poor and the drain channels were left open and ended up flowing along the streets in the city. Household waste, including human stool, was disposed on the streets by the inhabitants leaving the city full with flies buzzing all over during summer and with overflowing sewage during winter CITATION Ope15 l 1033 (Open Collections Program: Contagion).
These poor sanitation conditions created a good environment for the survival and breeding of the Black Rat. These rats are known to have been hosts of the Oriental rat fleas. These fleas moved and to the human beings and when they got onto open wounds or bit them, deposited a type of bacterium known as Yersinia pestitis which is known to be the cause of the bubonic plague. The poor people that lived in London were the first victims of the plague.
The plague affects the lymph nodes and within 3 to 7 days of exposure to the Yersinia pestitis bacteria, the patients developed flu-like symptoms such as headache and fever and swollen, tender lymph glands.

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They could then develop into pus-filled sacs found primarily under the armpits and in the groin. These were very painful to the patient.
A house that had a patient who suffered from the plague were locked in their home for a duration of forty days and nights. Painted on the door was a cross, red in color, which was meant to alert and warn other people about the presence of a patient suffering from the disease and a potential source of danger to them. The bodies of the dead were collected were carried away in a cart then taken to a site where a mass grave was dug and the bodies buried in numbers CITATION Ope15 l 1033 (Open Collections Program: Contagion).
Dogs and cats were mistakenly attributed to the spread of the epidemic and the Londoners were even given payments to kill them. There was no real cure that was discovered. The main method used to control the disease was by quarantine. The winter later interfered and slowed down the spread of the disease the weather killed some of the rats and the fleas. The disease was wiped out by another tragedy, The Great Fire of London, which burnt down the dirty areas areas where the rats inhabited.

Works Cited
BIBLIOGRAPHY l 1033 Open Collections Program: Contagion. “The Great Plague of London, 1665”. 27 May 2015. Web . 27 May 2015.

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