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Black Death: How NOT to Run a Quarantine

After killing an estimated 25 million people in Central Asia, the Black Death enters the gates of Constantinople (present day Istanbul, Turkey). Plague fleas hide within the cargo of Genoan merchants as they carry death from Crimean ports along the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. Port cities know of quarantines, but this plague is so virulent that city officials lock away entire families in their homes and board up their windows, condemning them to die together. The government hires "guards" to run errands for the quarantined household but the guards spend most of their time tormenting those inside. Only the desperate and incompetent apply for jobs as a nurse for these Plague homes. This type of treatment guarantees that few will report a sick family member. Instead, they pack their bags and move to another town, often bringing the Plague with them. [1] [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Regarding the quarantine methods: locking people in their homes is obviously a bad idea. Those towns that survive institute sensible, strict and frankly, expensive regulations, often housing sick people separately from the suspect and the well and paying people for their old bedding so that it can be destroyed. Some clean towns will set guards at the gate to prevent entry. But most of the towns will not be strict so they will die.[5] [6]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1347, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Orent, Wendy (Wendy Orent, bio). Plague: The Mysterious Past and Terrifying Future of the World's Most Dangerous Disease, Free Press. 2004-May-4. (BOOK)
  2. Black Death in Asia: Bubonic Plague, Kallie Szczepanski, About.com.
  3. Kohn, George C.. "Encyclopedia of Plague and Pestilence: From Ancient Times to the Present", Infobase Publishing, 2008, pp. 31-33.
  4. 1347-1353 AD The Black Death. History Central. MultiEducator, Inc. 2012 [last update]
  5. Black Plague, from Wikipedia.
  6. Yersinia pestis: Symptoms and Disease Progression, from Wikipedia.

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