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The rat not guilty of the spread of the black plague

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PLEASE NOTE: This guide was originally written in French. If you are using the English version of our site, you will see an automatic translation. You can change the language from the menu in the site header or see our English language guides here.

A recent study suggests that rats did not cause the spread of bubonic plague in the Middle Ages. Rather, it would be another type of rodent: the gerbil. Let's take a closer look at the Black Death epidemic that marked the history of the Middle Ages.
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“The Black Death is a bubonic plague pandemic, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, which affected the European population between 1347 and 1352. It is neither the first nor the last epidemic of this type, but it is the only one to bear that name. On the other hand, it is the first epidemic in history to have been well described by contemporary chroniclers. "

Source: Wikipedia

“The American Academy of Sciences study claims that it is climate data that contradicts the fact that rats were responsible for the spread of plague epidemics that Europe experienced in the 14th century. the epidemics in Europe occurred after a rainy spring in Central Asia, followed by a hot summer. These conditions, which are bad for the black rat, are favorable to the Asian gerbil. "

Source: Radio-Canada

Through the next activities, students will learn more about the plague epidemic that ravaged Europe in the Middle Ages, but also about the disease situation that is still present in the world today.


Goals

At the end of the activities, the student will be able to:

- Learn about living conditions in the Middle Ages;
- Analyze an image representing the plague in the Middle Ages;
- Find information on the black plague epidemic;
- Discover the plague situation in Madagascar and elsewhere in the world.


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