Plague quarantine, England, 16th century

Plague quarantine, England, 16th century

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Plague quarantine. Artwork of a mother and child passing a quarantined house during a plague epidemic in medieval England. The red cross on the wall indicates that someone in the house has been infected by the plague. The period of quarantine would be at least 40 days. In the background, a dead body is being carried away. The plague (or Black Death) affected Europe from the 1340s to the 1700s. It is thought to have been bubonic plague, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, and spread by fleas on rats. Tens of thousands died in large towns, and millions died across Europe. 19th century artwork by Daumier, published in Devils, Drugs and Doctors (London, 1929).

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