Book Review by Aarene Storms: Bubonic Panic

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Bubonic Panic : when plague invaded America
by Gail Jarrow

Most people know the basic history of the Black Plague: that it probably started in Constantinople in the year 542, and quickly spread through Europe and the Middle East and killed somewhere between a third and half of the population.

What most people may not know is that cases of bubonic plague still occur in modern times -- and that there have been several outbreaks on the west coast of the United States.

Centered first on the Chinese district of San Francisco (1900-1904), plague bacteria -- mostly carried by fleas on rats, but also on ground squirrels, domestic cats, and even humans -- have gradually spread out on the North American continent.

Plague outbreaks were documented in New Orleans (1914), Los Angeles (1924), and even in Seattle (1907). There were fifteen confirmed cases reported in the United States last year!

Is there cause for concern? Are there steps you can take to avoid becoming part of a Monty Python sketch?


Read this book, and you'll know what to do.

The events may not have happened; still, the story is true.  --R. Silvern

Aarene Storms, youth services librarian
Richmond Beach and Lake Forest Park Libraries, KCLS


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