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Illustration showing the plague in Marseille, 1720

Illustration showing the plague in Marseille, 1720

N532/0006

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Credit

JEAN-LOUP CHARMET / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JEAN-LOUP CHARMET / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

A terrible scene in the town of Marseille, where in 1720 an epidemic of plague broke out. Pandemics of bubonic plague occurred in 542 and between 1346 & 1353, when a quarter of the population of Europe died. Further outbreaks occurred in Venice in 1487, Milan in the early 1500s, London in 1665 and Marseille in 1720. Extensive control measures, directed against rats as well as their fleas which carry the disease organism (Yersinia pestis), have essentially banished the plague from Europe. However there are still many regions of the world where the disease occurs and, at intervals, breaks out in an epidemic.

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