According to a story from Reuters, the plague (most notably known for killing nearly one-quarter of the world’s population between the years of 1347 and 1351), appears to be making a comeback, with recent appearances in nations with no previous cases. Some of the most recent cases have occurred in Africa, because the Africans obviously don’t have enough problems already.
What many people don’t know is that there are a few cases of the plague each year still. I know I was surprised when I found this out. The image that always pops in my head when I think of the plague is the scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail when the man is walking through the town yelling “bring out your dead” and some guy brings his not-so-dead father out, who is protesting the whole time, but ignored. Hilarious.
ANYWAY, in the U.S., most cases arise in the southwest. Luckily for us, the marvels of modern science and the lack of carriers (rodents) would make it extremely difficult for the plague to ever become widespread here. In third world countries, however, there is the potential for significant deaths associated with the plague. Pretty scary stuff if you ask me.
Of course, we shouldn’t get too concerned over the potential death toll quite yet, as the health industry often tends to over-exaggerate health threats (and often rightly so). It’s good to be looking out for people, but sometimes predicting the end of mankind as we know it leaves health officials the butt of many jokes when it doesn’t pan out. Case in point: anybody remember SARS?