Donate SIGN UP

Avoiding The Plague

Avatar Image
THC | 10:38 Wed 27th Oct 2010 | History
22 Answers
Watching that Michael Wood history of Kibworth last night, it struck me if the Black Death/Bubonic plague was SO virulent, how did mine (and your) ancestors avoid it?


1 to 20 of 22rss feed

1 2 Next Last

Best Answer

No best answer has yet been selected by THC. Once a best answer has been selected, it will be shown here.

For more on marking an answer as the "Best Answer", please visit our FAQ.
Blind luck. there was no other way of avoiding it.
it was not always fatal anyway so some no doubt would have had it and survived.
Maybe the few simple precautions people took back then saved a few - using vinegar as a disinfectant, using makeshift breathing masks etc - but there is some research that suggests resistance to 'new' diseases is a genetic evolutionary response. This article is quite interesting on the subject:
Avoiding contact with people from plague-infected areas saved many. The story of the village of Eyam, which cut itself off from the outside world when the plague struck in 1665 is well-known.
just to add to mike's post, Eyam was actually the other way round: badly affected by the plague, they cut themselves off from the world so they wouldn't pass it on to outsiders.

In general, it was probably the same as the way some people get flu and some don't - chance, maybe natural resistance. It is not in the interests of bacteria to kill off all possible hosts. (If it was bacteria; nobody's quite sure.)
mine were busy disease dodging in other parts of the world
Should have made that clearer in my original answer. A tale of pure altruism, inspired by the Rector, who himself succumbed to the plague (but you don't need me to tell you that). Was required learning when I taught 17C history.
There were pockets of people who didn't travel, nobody visited them, they didn't get it - and some people did recover. That Kibworth programme is very good.
Avoiding the plague is such a cliché
Apparently it is some form of natural selection - There were people who lived in the same house with familys that died but they survived.

It is a fact no matter how virulent a disease some people will survive no matter what?

Plus of course everything else on this page luck, isolation etc.
I've just read a book about Eyam Mike......what a coincidence.
the rich avoided it pretty well as they could afford to keep their homes clean and out of the way of the rats and fleas.
the poor had very close living quarters so it spread quick. i would assume that our ancestors were either very very very lucky or rich!
Whenever the "Sweating Sickness" hit London, as it frequently did, it was usual for the Court and the nobility to remove themselves to the country.
the seating sickness is another disease that seems to have just vanished. Probably just as well as I'd undoubtedly have caught it.
I thought the seating sickness was the major cause of obesity.
it involved getting a bad case of the sits...
Just look at what else you could die of (bottom of page on this link)

Not sure which sounds worse, 'griping in the guts' or 'rising of the lights'.........
Whatever happened to Swine Flu and Avian Flu? Are we safe from them now?
I think 5% of people who contracted bubonic plague in the 14th century (Black Death) recovered. The key was whether they were still alive when the buboes burst after four or five days. Yuck! If they were, they would probably recover. The infection killed 95% of sufferers before then though.

I've always wondered how populated the UK and Europe would be if the Black Death had never struck and wiped out a third of the populace. Many of those who died were obviously unable to leave offspring who would have reproduced exponentially until today. We are therefore able to live in the space left by those who never arrived.
As an adjunct to this question, I vividly recall interviewing prospective student nurses in Zambia in 1971. I asked one if she had ever had any diseases in her lifetime.
'No, Bwana, nothing', she said.
'Oh, surely, you must have had something in your childhood, like mumps or measles perhaps?' I replied.
She threw her hands in horror. 'No, Bwana, I never had the measles, never the measles'
She appeared quite distressed at the thought, so I apologised and went on with the interview. At the end of the interview, I asked if she wished to add anything. She said
'I think I told you a mistruth, Baas. I did have a disease, but it was very little, and I had forgotten about it.'
'Oh yes, what was that?' I enquired.
'I had the smallpox, Baas,'

1 to 20 of 22rss feed

1 2 Next Last

Do you know the answer?

Avoiding The Plague

Answer Question >>

Related Questions

Avatar Image
Avatar Image