The Pneumonic Plague Killed 50 Million People in the Middle Ages and Now It’s Back

by | Oct 9, 2017 | Headline News | 29 comments

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    This report was originally published by Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper


    Very little sounds more unsettling than the risk of catching “the plague” but most of us think this is just something that was around during the Middle Ages because of poor hygiene. Unfortunately, that’s incorrect, and to prove it, there is an epidemic of the pneumonic plague in Madagascar right now.

    We all remember reading about The Black Death during history lessons in school. It was a horrific pandemic that nearly wiped out Europe, killing a disputed number of people that ranges between 50 million and 100 million. Also known as the pneumonic plague, here is a quick video to get you up to speed on your medieval history.

    It’s bad and it’s reminiscent of the Liberian Ebola outbreak in 2013, that alarmingly made its way to American soil. The New York Times reported on the situation in Madagascar:

    Since August, the country has reported over 200 infections and 33 deaths.

    The outbreak is beginning to resemble the early stages of the West African Ebola crisis in 2014: a lethal disease normally confined to sparsely populated rural areas has reached crowded cities and is spreading in a highly transmissible form.

    Schools, universities and other public buildings have closed so they can be sprayed to kill fleas, which may carry the infection. The government has forbidden large public gatherings, including sporting events and concerts.

    Fears that the outbreak could spread to other countries are rising.

    Late last month, plague struck a basketball tournament for teams from Indian Ocean countries, killing a coach from the Seychelles and infecting another from South Africa. The players are being monitored, Malagasy health authorities told the W.H.O.

    Madagascar typically has about 400 cases of plague each year between September and April, but they are usually focused in the nation’s central highlands and spread by fleas living on rats in rice-growing areas. This outbreak is unusually worrying because most new cases are in cities and are pneumonic plague, the form transmitted by coughing. (source)

    Madagascar is a large island of 224,533 square miles off the coast of southeastern Africa. It has a population of more than 25 million people in an area that is approximately twice the size of the state of Arizona.

    In comparison, Arizona has just over 6 million people, so as you can see, Madagascar is densely populated.

    The biggest city on the island is Antananarivo, which has a population of 1,391,433, and concerningly, Patient Zero of the current outbreak traveled through the city by public transit, causing great concern of the possible ramifications.

    The Madagascar outbreak started in August, when a 31-year-old man originally thought to have malaria traveled by bush taxi from the central highlands to his home in the coastal city of Toamasina, passing through the capital, Antananarivo.

    He died en route and “a large cluster of infections” broke out among his contacts, according to a W.H.O. update issued Oct. 4. Those contacts passed it on to others.

    Plague was not confirmed until blood samples collected from a 47-year-old woman who died on Sept. 11 in an Antananarivo hospital of what appeared to be pneumonia were tested at Madagascar’s branch of the Pasteur Institute. The samples came up positive on a rapid test for plague. (source)

    Hasn’t Madagascar dealt with the plague before?

    Madagascar is no stranger to the plague, with about 400 cases every year, but this time around, it’s the pneumonic plague, which is far more contagious and deadly.

    …the majority of cases are of pneumonic plague, which affects the lungs and is transmitted through coughing. It is considered to be the most deadly form of the disease and can be fatal within 24 hours.

    The less deadly bubonic plague is often spread by rodents fleeing forest fires. Humans usually become ill after being bitten by infected fleas.

    Public gatherings have been banned in response to the latest outbreak.

    A specialised hospital in the capital Antananarivo is struggling to cope with the influx of ill people, local media reported, with long queues outside for face masks and medicine.

    This year urban areas have been affected, a development that has worried aid agencies in a country not renowned for a robust healthcare system. (source)

    Of course, with urban areas comes public transportation, and even more alarmingly for the rest of the world, an international airport. There has already been at least one documented case of pneumonic plague leaving the island, causing Air Seychelles to halt service to Madagascar:

    “Following the advice and request of the Public Health Authority of Seychelles concerning the plague epidemic in Madagascar, Air Seychelles will temporarily suspend its services between Seychelles and Madagascar from Sunday 8 October 2017.”

    This is the content of the official communiqué of Air Seychelles which will no longer serve Madagascar from tomorrow 08 October 2017.

    It is certain that the Seychelles authorities did not appreciate the death of the Seychellois basketball coach in Madagascar following a pulmonary plague he contracted on the spot during the basketball tournament in Antananarivo. It was only after this unfortunate death that the Malagasy authorities took action and began a thorough awareness campaign. (source)

    Aside from this, I could find no other travel restrictions to or from Madagascar.

    What is the plague?

    There are three types of plague: bubonic plague, septicemic plague, and pneumonic plague.

    Bubonic plague is spread via infected fleas and small animals. It can result from bites or exposure to the body fluids of dead, plague-infected animals. It can enter through the skin by a flea bite and travel to the lymph system. Treatment with antibiotics must occur within the first 24 hours of symptoms. The mortality rate for those treated ranges from 1-15%, but for untreated patients, ranges from 40-60%.

    Septicemic plague is the rarest form of plague and is nearly always fatal without treatment. It attacks the bloodstream. Treatment must begin immediately after symptoms have shown or it will be too late. It is transmitted from flea bites, rodent bites, or mammal bites from infected creatures.

    In septicemic plague, bacterial endotoxins cause disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), where tiny blood clots form throughout the body, commonly resulting in localised ischemic necrosis, tissue death from lack of circulation and perfusion.

    DIC results in depletion of the body’s clotting resources, so that it can no longer control bleeding. Consequently, the unclotted blood bleeds into the skin and other organs, leading to red or black patchy rash and to hematemesis (vomiting blood) or hemoptysis (spitting blood). The rash may cause bumps on the skin that look somewhat like insect bites, usually red, sometimes white in the center. (source)

    As awful as the other two versions sound, the pneumonic plague is the most contagious and worrisome. It causes a severe lung infection that is often confused with pneumonia, delaying essential treatment. It can be spread via rodents and flea bites.but also from the sputum of those infected. It can become completely airborne, making it far more difficult to avoid infection.

    It must be treated within 24 hours or is nearly always fatal. People who have been exposed to pneumonic plague can be treated prophylactically with antibiotics.

    What can be done to treat the plague?

    The World Health Organization has sent over a million doses of antibiotics and has protective gear on the way. There are also other measures in place as reported by the BBC.

    The authorities have also banned prison visits in the two worst affected areas to prevent the spread of the disease.

    The risk of contamination is high in overcrowded and unsanitary jails…

    Public gatherings have been banned in response to the latest outbreak.

    A specialised hospital in the capital Antananarivo is struggling to cope with the influx of ill people, local media reported, with long queues outside for face masks and medicine.

    This year urban areas have been affected, a development that has worried aid agencies in a country not renowned for a robust healthcare system…

    On 30 September, Prime Minister Olivier Mahafaly Solonandrasana in a televised statement announced that all public gatherings would be banned in Antananarivo to prevent the spread of the disease following the death of the basketball coach.

    In addition to school closures across the country, authorities on 5 October ordered the closure of the country’s two main universities in the eastern port of Toamasina and Antananarivo for disinfection purposes. Sports events have also been cancelled.

    There have been concerted efforts to set up rat traps and spray insecticides in several neighbourhoods to prevent the spread of the disease. The government has also established a toll-free number to report any new cases. (source)

    The local government is also cracking down on anyone who spreads information that is not in line with the national Ministry of Health.

    The Ministry of Health in addition has also taken measures against social media users who it accuses of spreading “false news” on the disease to create panic. A Facebook user was arrested and investigated on 3 October for publishing a report which did not correspond to the toll given by the ministry. (source)

    That’s unsettling, isn’t it?

    Should we be worried?

    At this point, we have no new cases of pneumonic plague in the United States. It has happened before, as one example, when there was an outbreak caused by an infected dog in Colorado in 2015 that then turned into human-to-human transmission. (source) A few months ago, fleas in Arizona were discovered to be carrying the plague. (source)

    If untreated, people still can die from the plague, which in the United States occurs in the wild, primarily in rural parts of western states, at a rate of about 10 to 15 cases per year, according to the CDC. Most of the naturally occurring cases are bubonic plague, which can bring on pneumonic plague if left untreated and a person’s lungs become infected.

    However, the disease is completely treatable with modern antibiotics if it is diagnosed early.

    Worldwide, the World Health Organization reports 1,000 to 3,000 cases of plague each year.

    Most infections in the United States have occurred after disposing of squirrels or mice that died from the infection or traveling in an area where infected rodents live. Health officials recommend staying away animals that are lethargic or appear sick. (source)

    At this time, we have absolutely no documentation of this bout from Madagascar affecting the United States.

    But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Never forget that people thought Ebola wouldn’t make it to our shores and it did. The reason it didn’t turn into a full-blown pandemic had absolutely nothing to do with a slipshod official response, either. Read this to learn just how easily an epidemic on foreign shores can turn into a pandemic that affects the whole world.

    While the plague is not difficult to treat with antibiotics if caught quickly, one thing that concerns me is the overuse of antibiotics in the United States. They simply don’t work as well for us these days because of near constant exposure from meat and dairy products.

    This is not currently a threat to us, but it bears watching. Preparing for a pandemic should start well before the illness shows up, or you run the risk of not being able to get essential supplies. This article can help you get a jump on prepping for a pandemic. If you want more information, this class contains a 90-minute interview, written information, and checklists. Keep in the loop with the Facebook page, Pandemic Watch, and follow Preppers Daily News for updates. Finally, be sure to sign up for my email list – when I know, you’ll know.

    Think of it like a tropical storm, hundreds of miles out to sea. We have no idea if it will reach our shores or how strong it will be, but it’s important to be watchful and ready in case it heads our way. Don’t panic, but be ready to take action to protect your family.


    The Pantry Primer

    Please feel free to share any information from this article in part or in full, giving credit to the author and including a link to The Organic Prepper and the following bio.

    Daisy Luther is the author of The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide To Whole Food on a Half Price Budget.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at [email protected]


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      1. we appreciate the heads-up, daisy….and mac.

        • The Plague never went away, Daisy. It is active in Northern Arizona and has been for many decades. A recent outbreak indicates that prairie dogs are a carrier of the disease and these RODENTS have been discovered infected in Doney Park, a subdivision of Flagstaff Arizona, this year.

          A few years ago, a wildlife biologist in Flagstaff found a dead mountain lion, took it home and opened it up to see why it died. He died of the plaugue nine days later because he failed to use protective clothing and masks.

          So, YES, plague IS a threat to US !!! Now you know. Spread the word. 🙁

        • Anyone on a bored sleepless night play the online game “Pandemic”? ht tp:// if so, you’ll recall that for a pandemic to be world-wide and for the player to win (winning is to completely infect every single person in the world) you just gotta get Madagascar early on. If not, you cannot win. Just saying….

        • Who’d a thunk it? Import millions of turd worlders and they bring their turd world hygiene with them.

      2. The plague that arose in the middle ages was of the bubonic type not the Pneumonic plague that is referenced in this article.

      3. nursery rhyme:

        The invariable sneezing and falling down in modern English versions have given would-be origin finders the opportunity to say that the rhyme dates back to the Great Plague.

        A rosy rash, they allege, was a symptom of the plague.

        Posies of herbs were carried as protection and to ward off the smell of the disease.

        Sneezing or coughing was a final fatal symptom.


        “all fall down” was exactly what happened.

        • What’s the nursery rhyme? We didn’t have nursery rhymes in school, and I was never in a nursery.

          • Ring-a-round the rosie,
            A pocket full of posies,
            Ashes! Ashes!
            We all fall down.

            This was the nursery rhyme about the plague.

            I worked with an Asian woman who was a first generation US immigrant from China. An engineer and sharp as tack. She asked why old European/American nursery rhymes were so violent. I explained how do you teach your child to be weary of strangers. Do you say, be careful or someone might rape you. To which your child would ask momma what’s rape? Or do you read the story of Hansel and Grettle where a terrible woman wants to cook and eat the children, something they can relate to.

      4. 50 mm dead from the plague back in they day? Pikers compared to communism, which in only one century MURDERED 100 mm.

      5. Most people of European heritage today are descended from those who survived the Black Death during the medieval period, often due to a specific gene variant that made them resistant. Because of this, the death toll of a modern epidemic would probably not be anywhere near as high for Americans, Europeans, Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders as it was for their medieval ancestors. The same is possibly also true for a smaller number of Asians. Sub-Saharan Africans, on the other hand, are highly vulnerable. An epidemic on mainland Africa would be completely devastating.

      6. Everyone remembers the stop and frisk program in NYC that targeted blacks mostly and violated their 4th amendment rights. I remember people sayin it was mostly blacks and if it stopped crime it was fine with them. Well Steve wynn the Vegas hotel mogul said they will be increasing the security measures. He said they will be searching bags and vehicles and anyone who stays in their room more than 12 hours will have their room searched. they will be profiling people. He said people who don’t have Facebook accounts and those who do not drink will be flagged for further scrutiny. They are using resorts to desensitize you to the loss of your personal privacy. It will spread to all resorts nationwide. Now you can opt out of staying in these places however when the gov does it you won’t be avoiding it. While everyone is worrying about the second amendment they are losing their 4th amendment right to be free from illegal search and seizure. The level of fear mongering is causing people to say search my bags and car if you need to I just wanna be safe. What’s even more creepy is this attitude towards Facebook that everyone should post their goings on for everyone to see. the mainstream opinion is everyone uses Facebook and drinks. The same attitude stoners have is that everyone blazes. Well not all of us are addicted to shit and bragging on face book and to find people who do not engage in this activity as odd or cause for concern is a new phenomenon. I’m very concerned. I’ve said snitch programs like see something say something is opening people up to scrutiny because we are relying on people to call in on what they deem suspicious behavior. Calling 911 cus mcdonalds fucked up your order is not an emergency. The attitude that I’m not doing anything wrong so I don’t mind being searched and you should see it that way too is ludicrous.

        • I see people “checking in” on Facebook, which is telling the whole world that you’re not home so they can break into your house. If you’ve “checked in” far enough from home, they could just pull up with a moving van and take everything you own.

          Hardly anyone knows of my trips until I’m back home and ready to tell them about it.

      7. Wasn’t it the bubonic plague in the middle ages? Is pneumonic plague a superclass of bubonic? Viral vs Bacterial makes a difference too. With greater and greater numbers of antibiotic ressistant bugs spreading, out ability to fight them is waning.

        On a side note, a friend and I tried to come up with a likely cause of a zomebie apocalypse if it happens. We came to the conclusion that drug resistant syphilis was the best fit.

        1) Can spread by bodily fluid exposure.
        2) Causes cognitive decline and violent outbursts.
        3) The drug resistant version can’t be cured, potentially leading to large numbers of infected needing to be quarantined with limited resources.

        • Yes, the Black Death was the bubonic plague.

          Some sources say that bubonic and pneumonic are the same thing, and other sources make distinctions between them.

          My grandfather helped prepare dead people at the funeral home during the flu epidemic in 1918, so I’m pretty sure he had some immunity. I’ve never had the flu, so hopefully I’m immune as well. I sure won’t take the mercury vaccines.

      8. The US still admits people from areas, its too much of a stretch to call them nations, that have bacteria that scares the crap out of antibiotics. We’ll get diseases that we only read about occurring “over there” when we were kids in the 1960s. Andrew “Dice” Clay referred to them as “Aknod” who smells like urine. Its certainly a tribute to the US contribution to globalism as we facilitated so much world development the people that now desire to immigrate here come from the armpit of the planet.

      9. Yet another swell gift the filthy, ass Muzzies can bring to Europe and America…roll out the red carpet people, open your doors for the poor, underprivileged Muslims of the world. You couldn’t find a nicer group of people. They are known for their sweet, kind and loving attributes…NOT!!!! Stay away from those filthy no good rat bastards.

        • We have a ‘black plague’ today known as black animals killing good black people.

      10. When in the military
        I was forced to get Plague shots.
        Made me sick, but I survived.
        At the time plague was in Northern India
        and Africa. Now our progressives are
        spreading Africans all over our country.
        I’m old enough to not worry, but I want to
        protect my family.
        No more immigration!

        • Rellic the one that made me sick was the anthrax vaccine they first developed in the early 90’s

        • I got those shots too. Got one of the final smallpox vacs, too.

          I felt like crap for a day or two but was fine afterwards.

          Most people under 40 don’t get the smallpox vaccine these days. They get every vaccine out there but not the one we know has been stored to use as a weapon of war.

          • Man in India:

            My grandfather shit in these streets
            My father shit in these streets
            I shit in these streets
            My son shits in these streets
            Our destiny is street shitting!

            In India and Africa, one can witness people bathing and pissing in the same waterhole where people are gathering drinking water.

            All cultures are equal. Sure, if you say so.

      11. Reminds me of an article and map I saw on how many of the worlds nations people still defecate anywhere outside. Africa was over half in close proximity to water sources. India still has a problem. Other nations also. I remember seeing Vietnamese on the side of the road doing the same, but they have made strides in handling sewage, about 10% now go where they want. It sure is excessively hot for this time of the year. I saw that show on the Justice channel about people dying from flea bites in the southwest. They could not readily diagnose the reason they died.

        • Ebola runs rampant in Africa because of the muslime practice of washing and wrapping the dead. Some of these “cultures’ kiss their dead relatives goodby.

          I’ve read that right after death, the body carries 100 times the viral load present when the person was alive.

      12. Pneumonic plague?? WTF!

      13. Bring it. Need to cleanse the human trash. Some diseases are better than Hitler.

      14. 3RD WORLD IMMIGRATION (INVASION)IS OUR DEMISE. You ain’t even begun to see the horrors that are coming. Were going to be over-run and over-taken by these diseased, un-ethical, un-Christian, un-merciful and un-intellectual barbarians. The day will arrive when there are enough of them inside the gates that they will begin slaughtering whites. It will be genocide, as has happened all too many times thru-out history. Our only hope is a nearly complete moratorium on immigration for 20 years, or beyond. Will it happen.? Don’t know….Otherwise, we are doomed. It may already be too late.!!!!!

      15. hope you got antibiotics in your preps

      16. The infromercial writer of this piece has the Bubonic plague mixed up with Pneumonic plague. Two different things, is the writer a 20 something? Oh the joys of living an old age, we just know too much.

      17. I’m sure most of you already know this, but you can buy amoxicillin and other RX antibiotics online – for your fish. Good to have on hand just in-case. I’m sure they’ll ban the sale of those soon enough too!
        Pays to know your herbs also – haven’t been to the doctor in years and not on a single med. 😉

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