Burning plague-spreaders. Artwork of suspected plague-spreaders being executed by burning at the stake. Bubonic plague, or the Black Death, was endemic in Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries. Anyone thought to cause outbreaks of the disease was dealt with harshly. Suspects were often believed to spread the disease by poisoning wells. The bubonic plague was largely transmitted by rat fleas which carried Yersinia pestis bacteria. A related "pneumonic" plague was spread directly from person to person in droplets in the breath. Artwork based on a medieval woodcut.
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