Conditions and Diseases
Middle Ages
Black Death (Plagues)

What does the black death have to do with microbes?



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The Black Death was almost certainly caused by microbes of the species Yersinia pestis. This microbe was carried by oriental rat fleas that live on black rats, so all three species had to be around in large numbers. When rats died of the plague, the fleas looked for new hosts, and though they preferred other rats, they were often unable to find them and bit human beings or other animals, which then got sick and often died.