Medicine: Farewell to Plague?

Other diseases may have taken a greater toll of human life, but none has spread more terror than the Black Death. In the 14th century, plague reached from Asia through Asia Minor to Europe, where it killed 25 million people (one in four by conservative estimate, perhaps one in three). Three centuries later the rat-borne scourge devastated London, killing 70,000 —one-sixth of the population. Then it lay relatively dormant, taking a regular annual toll in parts of Asia where it was endemic. In 1896 it burst out of South China, through the port of...

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