Just when you thought 2020 couldn’t get any more mental, it’s revealed there has been a case of BUBONIC PLAGUE reported in China.
The bubonic plague - which is called that as it causes huge painful boils under the armpits and in the groin - took the lives of an estimated 75–200 million people in Eurasia and North Africa. It peaked in Europe from 1347 to 1351.
In the UK, the plague is synonymous with THE BLACK DEATH, which tore through the overcrowded and dirty city of London until it was razed to the ground by the Great Fire in 1666. Modern science tells us that the plague is caused by yersinia pestis bacteria, transmitted by fleas that live on rats, but back then they thought all sorts caused people to fall ill, including a comet that tore through the sky in 1665.
They also thought the it was transmitted by smell, hence why the plague doctors walked about with orange peel and flowers stuffed in to their beaky masks.
But what is it like to have the Bubonic Plague? In 2012, American Paul Gaylord caught the bubonic plague from his CAT after he stopped him from choking on a mouse. He lives in Oregon, and saw his pet, Charlie, return home from a day out hunting in the wilderness unable to breathe properly, he pulled the dead rodent from his jaws, but was bitten by his worked-up pet at the same time.
The next day his cat was so unwell he had a vet friend come over and put him to sleep. And then he too fell ill… with PLAGUE.
Paul astounded doctors when he came down with all three variants of plague, and was put in a coma. His kidneys failed, and his family were warned that his life support machine would need to be turned off. But he survived.
These graphic images show how his fingers and toes went black with necrosis. They later had to be amputated.
Paul is such an inspiring and brave man. He told The Guardian: “After a month in hospital, I went home. I had to live for six weeks with the dead fingers and toes, so doctors could work out which parts were going to heal before they performed the amputations.
“They wanted to take off my hands and feet at the wrists and ankles, but I didn't want that. Instead, they removed my fingers; I still have my hands and part of my thumbs. They took off all the toes on my left foot, and about a third of my right foot is gone.”