How did the Bubonic Plague Spread?

Medieval Villages, Towns, and Cities were overcrowded and very dirty in medieval times around the 14th century!

There was no sanitation like we have today – medieval people would just throw their waste onto the streets, including their bodily waste – YUK!

This provided the perfect breading ground for a lot of nasty bugs, viruses, bacterium – you name it, it was probably lurking in the shadows of every medieval village, town and city!

All this dirt, grim and disease also was the perfect home for the medieval rat, there must have been a huge rat population at this time.

These rats were riddled with nasty little ‘infected’ fleas who like to bite – the problem was when the rats died the fleas liked to jump on board a human and take a bite out of him instead of the rat.

The Black Plague and Rats

The Black Plague and Rats

This caused the Bubonic Plague to rapidly spread across Europe!

Other Causes

Dead animals also carried the Bacterium and Medieval People could also catch the Bubonic Plague from exposure to a plague-infected animal.

In the bubonic form of plague, the bacteria enter through the skin through a flea bite and travel via the lymphatic vessels to a lymph node, causing it to swell.

Medieval people could see who had caught the ‘Bubonic Plague’ just by looking at them so the diagnosis was easy when the disease had taken hold of the Victim, maybe not so
in the first few days.

‘Plague Doctors’ and Miracle Cures!

Bizarrely ‘Doctors’ commonly known as ‘Plague Doctors’ wandered around Medieval villages, towns, and cities wearing bizarre costumes that look like something from a ‘Fancy dress party’.

They wore long black gowns and a ‘Doctor’s Mask’ these masks were filled with a strange concoction of herbs.

Plague Doctors believed that their costumes and mask protected them from the disease, maybe it gave them a better chance than others anyway!

The Doctors might have looked impressive as they wandered around, but they served little purpose as there was no known cure for the ‘bubonic plague at this time.

Black Death Herb Mask worn by medieval doctor

During the black death or bubonic plague, medieval doctors wore bizarre herb masks as shown

So what’s wrong with having a Bath?

Medieval people believed that bathing spread the pandemic and was scared to death of bathing which was usually a crowded affair

This actually led to the creation of the first perfumes as medieval people and the places they lived in were pretty smelly! but that’s another story!

Medieval Bathing

Medieval Bathing Spread of the Black Plague or Black Death