World History II
Malaria VS. The Black Plague
In the fourteenth century, death and devastation swept from Asia to Europe in the form of the Black Plague, killing nearly one third of the world’s population. The Black Plague was one of the most horrid pandemics in history. Arguably, other modern day diseases such as Malaria, have, and continue to impact the world in many ways. While the medical responses, based off knowledge and economic results differ from the Black Death to Malaria, social classing plays a role in the likelihood of being directly affected by either disease. Medical advancements such as vaccines, treatments, and cures are based off of the knowledge of scientists, doctors, and other medical professionals of the time. Though, there are many myths that are and have been formulated to suggest otherwise. The overall economic effects of the Plague and Malaria differ in the sense that The Plague flipped the entire economy around, and Malaria only has a slight effect on society. Socially speaking, these diseases were both associated with lower classes. The overall medical knowledge of the time impacts the development of treatments for any disease. In this case, the treatments and methods applied during the Black Plague differ from how Malaria is currently treated and has been in the past. During the fourteenth century, when the Black Plague was at it’s height, society was enclosed in pure chaos. No one knew what was happening, not even the nobles, doctors, or priests of higher power. People came up with theories of why the Black Death was encompassing them, as a result of the hysteria. As well, people concocted speculations for treatments and cures. These speculations would range from feasible to completely absurd. Though during that time period, people thought what is now considered absurd was then plausible. A good indicator that society was indeed lacking information is the fact that most of the theories do not “match” up. A fair amount of theories formulated contradicted others. “Often one tract contradicted another, for example, either invoking the use of arsenic amulets or warning against it. Much of the advice was conservative and old-fashioned.” (Anne McKeithen, M.S.L.I.S) Today, when Malaria is considered, most people in the affected regions are essentially informed about the disease. Though, people in current times are still known to concoct theories about almost any subject, including diseases. Most speculations about Malaria have accurate support or logical explanation behind it. Nevertheless, there are some myths and misconceptions that are not logical. An example of a myth is “Once you have Malaria, you have it for life.” (Dr. Mark Wise, Verge Magazine) The reason people formulated such theories during the Plague, is simply due to lack of knowledge or misinformation about the disease. Medical knowledge was limited, so there was not much to work with when it came to the development of treatments and cures. The Plague also had such a short incubation period, that it was difficult to test educated hypothesis’. Today, society as a whole is more educated on Malaria and the science behind it, as well as technologically advanced, that creating a cure or treatment is considerably easier than it was then. The economic effects of Malaria differed from the Black Plague of the fourteenth century to modern day Malaria. Though both diseases caused some sort of economic dismay, the Plague had much greater of an impact than Malaria has and continues to have on society. There was tremendous economic discord that the Plague brought upon the people of Europe and Asia. Not only were lives flipped upside down socially, but economically speaking as well. After the height of the Plague had come, there was a major shift in social classes. So many peasants and serfs were killed off, that the nobles had nobody to maintain the fields, so they had to begin working themselves. They didn’t have any people...
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