The Carrier Of Viruses

Disclaimer: The topic I’m speaking about today is something I’ve done research on and is not meant to offend anyone in any manner. My motive is to provide information on how such diseases and viruses pass on to humans. Warning this article might have some pictures and topics which won’t be appreciated by some audiences but I’ll try my best to make the article as light-hearted as possible.

A researcher holding a bat credit (Wikipedia)

Throughout history, we humans have seen various types of viruses and a large amount of the populace getting infected. These viruses come from a plethora of sources i.e animals and man-made viruses. These different diseases usually come from animals like bats, rodents, and fleas and many more creatures who tend to host a plethora of diseases which are described by the Baltimore classification system from double-stranded DNA viruses to positive-sense single-strand RNA viruses.

As mentioned above, these animals host a plethora of viruses that are usually zoonotic (diseases which can pass on from animals to humans) the most common diseases that we all have heard about and i.e the ongoing pandemic Covid-19 and the black plague in Eurasia and Northern Africa which resulted in up to 200 million deaths from 1346 to 1353. To understand the dynamics of such pandemics, we’ll have to go back to the beginning and see how did the deadliest pandemic cause problems to the public.

The Black Death

The deadliest pandemic ever recorded in history, the bubonic plague was the deadliest pandemic ever to take place in the history of humanity. Early writings suggest that the pandemic originated from Asia but it was first ever recorded in Crimea, Ukraine. The primary cause of the spread of the was through fleas living on black rats. These rats lived on slave ships that travelled in the Mediterranean basin, in Africa, Italy and Western Asia. Upon reaching the shore, the rats did what they do best multiplying in numbers and the large no of fleas caused pneumonic plague amongst the Populus which had human-to-human contact via aerosols which caused the fast spread of the epidemic inland. The main culprit was Yersinia pestis a bacterium that was present in the flea population carried by ground rodents. The symptoms were vomiting, headaches and swollen lymph nodes close to where the bacteria entered the skin.

As mentioned in the above para, the number of deaths in the pandemic were around 75- 200 million people with the world population being 475 million people at that time it certainly reduced it to 375–350 million people. Surely disturbing figures, it took almost 80 to 150 years for the population in certain areas to recover.

The picture above shows Yersinia pestis, the virus which caused the black death. Recent research suggests that the virus might have passed on through humans rather than rats.

How did it end?

Well now that we know what happened and how many difficulties it caused but, do you know how it all ended? The answers lie somewhere, somewhere amidst the current situation we’re facing at the moment. As soon as they realised what is the mode of transmission for this plague, through aerosols and to minimize this they started what we’re now following “quarantine”. This along with the production of antibiotics and sanitation helped the cause. This plague primarily affected the poor populous who didn’t have the proper food and water facilities.

I know this topic is we’ve heard about throughout this year, and not something everybody gives their opinions about now and then, you might say now that the pandemic might get over later in the year, I’m probably late towards writing this article. But they say, better late than never😉.

If you like what I write feel free to follow me and share the article if you love it.

Take it easy, stay safe😉



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Abhidyu Ajila

Abhidyu Ajila

A zoology student who talks animals, conservation, evolution and geography