What terrible diseases from past eras can you get sick now?
We live in the 21st century, in cities and apartments with constant water supply and electricity, we know what personal hygiene and antibiotics are, and terrible diseases of the past, such as plague or “Spanish” epidemics, seem to us something distant and almost unreal. However, every year in the world new cases of these diseases are registered, both isolated and more massive, so it is important to know what kind of diseases they are and how they manifest themselves.
Recalling the terrible diseases of the past, we will first call the plague, which most often manifests itself in its bubonic form - that is, with the formation of lymphadenitis, inflammation of the lymph nodes, which were called plague buboes. In addition, pulmonary plague is also known, the death rate from which was one hundred percent, while 5% of all victims of bubonic plague survived.
This is an acute infectious disease, characterized by a high degree of contagion, it is therefore not surprising that in the middle of the XIV century, as well as in the XVI and XVIII centuries. the plague "mowed down" the inhabitants of Europe with millions - then they called her the "black death." The plague bacillus (Yersinia pestis), which spreads not only by airborne droplets from an infected person, but also through blood-sucking insects and rodents, is recognized as the causative agent of plague. Most often, it is rats and mice (more rarely, squirrels, wild dogs) that carry plague bacteria, as well as fleas that bite them.
The plague wand is sensitive to boiling water and disinfectants and under their influence dies within one minute. It would seem that in the modern world this is no longer a problem, but this is not the case: despite the absence of epidemics in the last hundred years, in many regions of Central Asia and Africa there are still cases of plague, according to statistics from 1 to 3 thousand. per year, and the death rate is about 18%.
In the case of bubonic plague, these same buboes usually appear in such places on the human body as the neck, armpits, groin area. Their formation causes severe pain in the body,therefore, it becomes inconvenient for a person to move, and he is forced to get used to being in a position in which inflammation is minimally irritated: for example, he puts his arm or leg aside, bends his neck, etc. At first, the patient begins to complain of fever and fever, which is very dangerous, since in this case the symptoms of the plague can be confused with other diseases. The incubation period does not last long, on average from 2 to 6 days. However, this is enough for a traveler or a tourist, not knowing about the illness picked up on vacation, to “bring” her to his homeland. Therefore, it should be remembered that to save a person from the plague it is possible, if diagnostics are performed as quickly as possible, to prescribe antibacterial drugs in time, without forgetting about maintenance treatment.
Other terrible diseases of the past include leprosy, which is also called leprosy (from the Greek - “scales”), and scientifically - Hansenosis, Hansen's disease. Mention of leprosy is still found in the Old Testament, and especially it cleared up during the Middle Ages, when it was called "lazy death", as well as the "seal of the devil", then "divine punishment", and the sick were considered cursed.It is also a lesion of the human nervous system and its skin caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium lepromatosis and Mycobacterium leprae. It is characterized by the appearance of spots on the skin, seals, damage to the mucous membranes, headaches, and deprivation of sensitivity in the affected areas of the skin and limbs. Nerve damage soon leads to muscle atrophy, and if the nerves are damaged on the face, it is fraught with a corneal ulcer and further blindness. The disease is transmitted mainly by airborne droplets and by prolonged contact with a person suffering from severe leprosy and not resorting to treatment.
The fear of this disease is mainly connected with the fact that they could not treat leprosy then, which led to a worsening of the patient’s condition and then certainly to death. Now they have learned to treat leprosy with the help of polychemotherapy, however, the course of treatment can take up to three years, and the patient stays in a special institution for the treatment of patients with leprosy - leprosaria. The main difficulty lies in the fact that at an early stage a terrible disease cannot be identified, because it is asymptomatic, and the incubation period lasts for years.Every year in the modern world hundreds of thousands of new cases of leprosy are recorded, confirming that the terrible diseases of the past can be a threat in the present.
Another reminder of the terrible disease in our time has become the epithet “leper” - we now use it primarily in a figurative sense in relation to people who are avoided for any reason, i.e. outcasts. Indeed, although today it has been proved that leprosy is not transmitted simply by touching an infected person to the flesh, in past times such patients were feared, despised, and avoided in all possible ways. Lepers were forbidden to take food and water from the same dishes as healthy ones, to use clothes and other objects, even to talk, standing beside or against the wind. Patients were often given a huge dark hoodie with a hood and a bell, which was intended to alert those around that a leper was approaching them.
Very rarely, but still it is possible in the modern world to get sick and such a rather terrible disease of the past as scurvy.Remember how grandmothers scared us with scurvy and tooth loss when we refused to eat vitamins? Indeed, scurvy is a condition caused by an acute deficiency of vitamin C in the body, whose unpleasant consequences are bleeding gums, as well as loosening and further tooth loss, severe joint pain, constant fatigue, drowsiness and general deterioration of health, the skin becomes yellow-brown. shade. This disease can be cured by changing the diet and returning foods rich in vitamin C to the diet (the therapeutic dose of vitamin should be about 500 mg per day).
It should be said that the worst cases of scurvy in the majority are in the past, because it became more than possible to find products containing this vitamin - and this is fruits, especially citrus fruits, berries, vegetables, juices, dried fruits, greens, etc. . In a pinch, you can even chew on meadow grass to get the necessary natural vitamin, if there is nothing else. However, those people who are forced or accidentally found themselves in critical circumstances when these products are difficult to obtain (travelers, convicts, soldiers, poor people in the northern regions) are still at risk of getting scurvy.So, the main victims of scurvy in past centuries were members of the crew of ships, which went into long-term navigation for months, or even half a year, simply disgustingly fed on without stepping on the ground.
There is another terrible disease of the past, familiar to each of us firsthand - and this is the famous “Spanish flu”, and in fact - the flu, which was called the “plague of the 20th century”. Read more about it in the video: