Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Disease of the Middle Ages Still Is a Threat ; EVANSVILLE'S DR. MOM

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Disease of the Middle Ages Still Is a Threat ; EVANSVILLE'S DR. MOM

Article excerpt

Before my husband and I had Daniel, we had cats. They were my first babies, and I thought they would give me a chance to practice my parenting skills. Turns out I made a lot of mistakes, many of which I have managed to repeat with my actual child, but despite it all the kitties survived and thrived for many years. They were usually typical cats, aloof and superior, but on occasion, when I bought the cheaper brand of cat chow, I got some distinctly angry meows.

This made me concerned that they might eventually realize that if they worked together they could overtake me and attack me in my sleep. That's ridiculous, of course, since cats are loners, and additionally, my kitties didn't have the energy to stage a backyard production of "Cats," let alone a household coup.

I'm still a little suspicious of other furry woodland creatures, however, and after a few nights of sleep deprivation I can almost visualize a herd of disgruntled chipmunks rising up against me.

A quick Google search did reassure me that chipmunks are not deadly killers, or at least that's what they want us to think. I don't want to let my guard down just yet, however, since earlier this year a chipmunk in the Western United States did test positive for the bubonic plague.

The bubonic plague, also known as the Black Death, has been infecting and killing people for many centuries. In the Middle Ages, the plague swept through multiple continents, destroyed entire villages and eventually wiped out approximately one-third of the population of Europe. A plague pandemic in the late 19th and early 20th centuries eradicated millions of people in India and China, and that outbreak was considered active until 1959. Numbers have dwindled, but in recent decades, there have still been an average of seven cases of plague reported in this country each year. …

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