10 'Facts' of the plague

1. A female rat has 5 - 10 pups in a litter; they are weaned at 3 weeks; they are able to breed at 12 weeks old. 

2. Ideal conditions for fleas are 90 - 95% humidity and a temperature of 15 - 25 degrees C. This microclimate is acheived in a rats nest and a grain store.

3. Bubonic plague reached England in 1348

4. Symptons of bubonic plague include, high fever, headaches, vomiting, painful swelling of lymph nodes (particularly in the groin, armpits and neck) forming buboes.

5. Speed of death after the first symptoms appeared ranged from a few days to a week.

6. 20 - 30% actually survived the disease as long as the buboes burst outwards.

7. Much less common are the septicaemic plague and pneumonic plague, still carried by rats, but both have a 100% fatality.

8. Burial registers show it is mainly a seasonal disease, appearing in spring, increasing in June and July, peaking in August and early September.

9. It was the 3rd pandemic of bubonic plague in the mid 19th C when it was realised the plague was spread by the bite of the rat flea.

10. There was an outbreak of bubonic plague in 2001 in Uganda with 23 reported cases and 14 fatalities.

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