Dance of death – reference to the Black Death

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Guess-timate is all that we can do, to see how heavily outnumbered we humans are, by the most prolific life-forms on the planet, by billions to one without doubt. Bacteria are vital to our very existence, many millions of them residing within our bodies, and being as essential to our existence, as we are to theirs, but there some bugs, as we often refer to them, are anything but friendly, where humanity is concerned.

The Black Death bacteria

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The most infamous virus in history is undoubtedly that which caused the Black Death,” the specific plague that swept through Europe between 1347 and the 1350’s, killing almost 30% of the population and being spread by rats and fleas.  There was no treatment, at the time, and the plague was so destructive, to breathing and blood supply systems of the human body, that infected persons were almost certain to die.  It was a truly lethal bacteria.

The Tuberculosis bacteria

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Once known as consumption, the terrible disease tuberculosis has been causing the deaths of millions for hundreds of years. Streptococcus pneumonia is the bacteria responsible, also causing meningitis, yet another fatal disease. Even though everyone has some of these in the lungs naturally, they remain benign unless triggered, by weakening immunity or infection. At least 15million people worldwide suffer from this awful ailment, two million dying annually. To date, no vaccine exists.

3. The Syphilis bacteria

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Syphilis, a disease not talked about in polite, western society, is one of the most prevalent and terrible plagues in history. The syphilis bacteria, once inside the body, can damage the brain anf the heart, and lead to terrible genital sores, and even disfigurement. This is a very hard one for doctors to diagnose, even though easily treatable, with modern medicines. Death through syphilis is very slow and painful, a devastatingly noxious bug.

4. The Salmonella bacteria

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In modern society, we have a much more advanced understanding of the natural world, and have developed many effective treatments, but bacteria continue to be, in some cases, extremely dangerous. One such is Salmonella, which can prove lethal, when presenting as the typhi type, which is responsible for the awful disease typhoid, costing over two hundred thousand lives each year, and spread through contaminated human waste.

5.The Typhoid bacteria

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Another horrid bacteria, which is most prevalent in Africa, India and South America, is that which causes typhoid, a truly nasty illness. Commonly spread by drinking water becoming contaminated, usually from sewage, typhoid causes half a million deaths per year. A very high temperature is followed by lethargy, violent diarrheoia, and weakness. Though easily treatable in the west, this dreadful disease causes havoc elsewhere.

6. The Staphylococcus bacteria

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One of the largest sub-groups of bacteria is staphylococcus, with forty group members. People all carry some of this around with them, ans modern anti-biotics usually take care of problems, but recent years have seen the emergence of strains resistant to that type of treatment, most famously MRSA, which causes the sickening flesh-eating disease. Left untreated, ther patient would certainly die, and amputation of affected areas, or even organ removal, can often prove to be the only solution to keeping the infected person alive.

7. The E-coli bacteria

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In developing countries and the third world, one bacterium that causes big problems is E-coli. More virulent strains can, and indeed do lead to neonatal meningitis, gastroenteritis, urinary tract infection, and more severe effects can lead to septicemia and even pneumonia. Though not seen as a major threat in the west, undeveloped nations might easily find that E-coli outbreaks are deadly, due to lack of antibiotics or proper treatments.

8. The Tetanus bacteria

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We all, in the west. Know that getting cut on a tin on a tin can lead to a tetanus jab, so we think little of this disease, but the tetanus bacterium is still active in the third world, causing Lockjaw and uncontrollable spasms among those infected. This is an awful, deadly disease that still manages to cause around sixty thousand baby deaths, as well as countless adults being disabled or dying from tetanus. A really nasty bug.

9. The Anthrax bacteria

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Among the favorite terrorist scares of recent years was the supposed distribution, by mail of Anthrax. This awful disease normally affects cattle, and comes in several forms, all deadly, usually contracted though the food chain, but it can be caught by humans, and can lead to a slow and painful death.

Having talked about these nine examples of bad bacteria, from a human health view, let us not forget that there are many millions more varieties of bug that are positively essential to our well-being, and extremely beneficial. There always will be nasty, noxious individuals in any crowd. We just have to do our very best to avoid them.

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  • Emma

    I study cell biology and immunoloy at uni and its scary to find dangerous things under the microscope. You have covered some of the most deadly examples in here nicely showing us the destruction that they can cause. (just check over your spelling as there are a couple of little errors in there). Another great post!

  • Jackie

    Tuberculosis is caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis