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This is a TIMELINE OF PLAGUE , describing major events such as epidemics and key medical developments.

TIME PERIOD KEY DEVELOPMENTS

541–750 (circa) The first plague pandemic spreads from Egypt
Egypt
to the Mediterranean (starting with the Plague of Justinian
Plague of Justinian
) and Northwestern Europe .

1346–1840 The second plague pandemic spreads from Central Asia
Central Asia
to the Mediterranean and Europe. The Black Death of 1346-53 is considered to be unparalleled in human history. From 1347 to 1665, the Black Death is responsible for about 25 million deaths in Europe
Europe
.

1866–1960s The third plague pandemic , which originated in China
China
, results in about 2.2 million deaths. Haffkine develops the first vaccine against bubonic plague . Antibiotic drugs are developed in the 1940s which dramatically reduce the death rate from plague.

1950–2000 Plague cases are massively reduced during the second half of the 20th century. However, outbreaks would still occur, especially in developing countries. Between 1954 and 1997, human plague is reported in 38 countries, making the disease a reemerging threat to human health. Also, between 1987 and 2001, 36,876 confirmed cases of plague with 2,847 deaths are reported to the World Health Organization .

Recent years Today, fewer than 200 people die of the plague worldwide each year, mainly due to lack of treatment. Plague is considered to be endemic in 26 countries around the world, with most cases found in remote areas of Africa
Africa
. The 3 most endemic countries are Madagascar
Madagascar
, the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
and Peru
Peru
.

FULL TIMELINE

*

Cases of human plague for the period 1994–2003 in countries that reported at least 100 confirmed or suspected cases. Case-fatality rates in % are represented on the left vertical. *

Plague cases reported in Africa
Africa
to the World Health Organization for the period 1954-1986. Cumulative. *

Plague cases reported in Americas to the World Health Organization for the period 1954-1986. Cumulative. *

Plague cases reported in Asia to the World Health Organizations for the period 1954-1986. Cumulative. *

Plague cases reported to the World Health Organization by continent. Cumulative.

YEAR/PERIOD EVENT TYPE EVENT PRESENT-DAY GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION

224 BC

Plague infection is first recorded in China. People\'s Republic of China
China

430 BC Epidemic Plague of Athens
Plague of Athens
devastates the city's population. The outbreak also affects much of the eastern Mediterranean region. Greece
Greece
, Mediterranean basin

165–180 AD Epidemic Antonine Plague , also known as the plague of Galen
Galen
, the Greek physician living in the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
who described it. It is suspected to have been smallpox or measles . The total deaths have been estimated at five million and the disease killed as much as one-third of the population in some areas and devastated the Roman army . Iraq
Iraq
Italy
Italy
France
France
Germany
Germany

250-270 AD Epidemic Plague of Cyprian breaks out in Rome
Rome
. It is estimated to kill about 5000 people a day. Italy
Italy

540 AD Epidemic Plague epidemic originates in Ethiopia
Ethiopia
spreads to Pelusium
Pelusium
in Egypt. Ethiopia
Ethiopia
, Egypt
Egypt

541–542 AD Epidemic The Plague of Justinian
Plague of Justinian
breaks out and develops as an extended epidemic in the Mediterranean basin. Frequent outbreaks over the next two hundred years would eventually kill an estimated 25 million people. The Justinian Plague is considered the first recorded pandemic. Mediterranean Basin

542 AD Epidemic The plague arrives in Constantinople
Constantinople
(now Istanbul
Istanbul
). By spring of 542, about 5,000 deaths per day in the city are calculated, although some estimates vary to 10,000 per day. The epidemic would go on to kill over a third of the city’s population. Turkey
Turkey

543 AD Epidemic After passing from Italy
Italy
to Syria, Palestine, and Iraq, plague reaches what is now modern Iran. Iran
Iran

627 AD Epidemic A large epidemic of plague breaks out in Ctesiphon
Ctesiphon
, the capital of the Sasanian Empire
Sasanian Empire
, killing more than 100,000 people. Iran
Iran

1334 Epidemic The second plague pandemic breaks out in China
China
. Widely known as the "Black Death" or the Great Plague, it is regarded as one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 75 to 200 million people in Eurasia. Eurasia

1345

Plague occurs in southern Russia, around the lower Volga River basin. Russia
Russia

1338–1339

Bubonic plague
Bubonic plague
is reported in central Asia.

1346 Epidemic Bubonic plague
Bubonic plague
breaks out in China
China
and India. China
China
, India
India

1347 Epidemic The plague spreads to Constantinople, a major port city. It also infects the Black Sea port of Kaffa down from southern Russia. Turkey
Turkey
, Ukraine
Ukraine

1347 Epidemic Italian traders bring the plague in rat-infested ships from Constantinople
Constantinople
to Sicily, which becomes the first place in Europe
Europe
to suffer the Black death epidemic. The same year, Venice
Venice
is also hit. Italy
Italy

1347–1350 Medical development During the 1347–1350 outbreak, doctors are completely unable to prevent or cure the plague. Some of the cures they try include cooked onions , ten-year-old treacle , arsenic , crushed emeralds , sitting in the sewers, sitting in a room between two enormous fires, fumigating the house with herbs, trying to stop God punishing the sick for their sin. Flagellants would go on processions whipping themselves.

1348 Medical development Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio in his book Decameron writes a description of symptoms of the plague. Italy
Italy

1348–1350 Epidemic The Black Death arrives at Melcombe Regis
Melcombe Regis
in the south of England. Over the next year, the plague spreads into Wales
Wales
, Ireland
Ireland
and Northern England
Northern England
. By 1350, the plague reaches Scotland. The estimated death toll for the British Isles and Ireland
Ireland
is calculated at 3.2 million. United Kingdom
United Kingdom
, Republic of Ireland
Ireland

1349 Genocide Black Death Jewish persecutions . A rumor rises claiming that Jews are responsible for the plague as an attempt to kill Christians and dominate the world. Supported by a widely distributed report of the trial of Jews
Jews
who supposedly had poisoned wells in Switzerland, the rumor spreads quickly. As a result, a wave of pogroms against Jews breaks out. Christians start to attack Jews
Jews
in their communities, burning their homes, and murder them with clubs and axes. In the Strasbourg massacre , it is estimated that people locked up and burned 900 Jews
Jews
alive. Finally, Pope Clement VI issues a religious order to stop the violence against the Jews, claiming that the plague is “the result of an angry God striking at the Christian people for their sins.” France
France
, Switzerland
Switzerland

1351 Epidemic Black Death epidemic reaches Russia, attacking Novgorod
Novgorod
and reaching Pskov , before being temporarily suppressed by the Russian winter. Russia
Russia

1352 Epidemic The plague reaches Moscow, only a few hundred miles from Caffa, the first city struck by the epidemic. Thus, the Black Death completes a great circle, killing from one-third to one-half of medieval Europe’s total population. Russia
Russia

1361–1364 Medical development During an outbreak, doctors learn how to help the patient recover by bursting the buboes .

1374 Epidemic Black Death epidemic re-emerges in Europe. In Venice
Venice
, various public health controls such as isolating victims from healthy people and preventing ships with disease from landing at port are instituted.

1377 Program launch The Republic of Ragusa establishes a landing station for vessels far from the city and harbour in which travellers suspected to have the plague must spend thirty days, to see whether they became ill and died or whether they remained healthy and could leave. Croatia
Croatia

1403

After finding thirty days isolation to be too short, Venice dictates that travellers from the Levant in the eastern Mediterranean be isolated in a hospital for forty days, the quarantena or quaranta giorni, from which the term quarantine is derived. Italy
Italy

1629–1631 Epidemic The Italian plague of 1629–1631
Italian plague of 1629–1631
develops as a series of outbreaks of bubonic plague. About 280,000 people are estimated to be killed in Lombardy and other territories of northern Italy. The Italian plague is estimated to have claimed between 35 and 69 percent of the local population. Italy
Italy

1637 Epidemic Plague breaks out in Andalusia , killing about 20,000 people in less than four months. Spain
Spain

1647–1652 Epidemic Plague ravages Spain. About 30,000 die in Valencia. The great Plague of Seville breaks out. Spain
Spain

1665–1666 Epidemic Great Plague of London
Great Plague of London
. 100,000 people are killed within 18 months. United Kingdom
United Kingdom

1679 Epidemic The Great Plague of Vienna kills at least 76,000 people. Austria
Austria

1722 Publication Daniel Defoe publishes A Journal of the Plague Year
A Journal of the Plague Year
, a fictional account of the Great Plague of London
Great Plague of London
in 1665. This novel is often read as non-fiction. United Kingdom
United Kingdom

1738 Epidemic Great Plague of 1738 kills at least 36,000 people. Romania
Romania
, Hungary
Hungary
, Ukraine
Ukraine
, Serbia
Serbia
, Croatia
Croatia
, Austria
Austria

1772–1850 Epidemic The human plague is reported intermittently in the Chinese province of Yunnan
Yunnan
, where the third plague pandemic would begin in the 1860s.

People\'s Republic of China
China

1867 Epidemic The plague spreads from Yunnan
Yunnan
Province to Beihai
Beihai
on the Chinese coastline. People\'s Republic of China
China

1869 Epidemic The plague is observed in Taiwan. Taiwan
Taiwan

1894 Epidemic The plague spreads to Guangzhou Province
Guangzhou Province
and results in the death of about 70,000 people. People\'s Republic of China
China

1894 Scientific development Working independently, both French bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin and Japanese bacteriologist Shibasaburo Kitasato isolate the bacterium that causes bubonic plague . Yersin discovers that rodents are the mode of infection. The bacterium is named yersinia pestis after Yersin.

1896–1897 Medical development Russian bacteriologist Waldemar Haffkine
Waldemar Haffkine
successfully protects rabbits against an inoculation of virulent plague microbes, by treating them previously with a subcutaneous injection of a culture of the microbes in broth. The first vaccine for bubonic plague is developed. The rabbits treated in this way become immune to plague. In the next year, Haffkine causes himself to be inoculated with a similar preparation, thus proving in his own person the harmlessness of the fluid. This is considered the first vaccine against bubonic plague . India
India
( Bombay
Bombay
)

1899 Epidemic Plague is first introduced in Latin America in Paraguay, followed by Brazil
Brazil
and Argentina
Argentina
in the same year. Paraguay
Paraguay
, Brazil
Brazil
, Argentina
Argentina

1901 Epidemic Plague infection is first reported in Uruguay. Uruguay
Uruguay

1902 Epidemic Plague infection is first reported in Mexico. Mexico
Mexico

1903 Epidemic Plague infection is first reported in Chile
Chile
and Peru. Chile
Chile
, Peru
Peru

1905 Epidemic Plague infection is first reported in Panama. Panama
Panama

1908 Epidemic Plague infection is first reported in Ecuador
Ecuador
and Venezuela. Ecuador
Ecuador
, Venezuela
Venezuela

1910 Epidemic Pneumonic plague breaks out in Manchuria, killing about 60,000 people over the course of a year. People\'s Republic of China
China

1912 Epidemic Plague infection is first reported in Cuba
Cuba
and Puerto Rico. Cuba
Cuba
, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico

1921 Epidemic Plague infection is first reported in Bolivia. Bolivia
Bolivia

1924–1925 Epidemic Plague breaks out in Los Angeles . 32 people get infected and only 2 survive. It is the last rat-borne epidemic occurring in the United States. United States
United States

1947 Publication French novelist Albert Camus publishes The Plague
The Plague
, a novel about a fictional outbreak of plague in Oran, Algeria. The book helps to show the effects the plague has on a populace. France
France

1994 Epidemic Plague in India
India
. The country experiences a large outbreak of pneumonic plague after 30 years with no reports of the disease. 693 suspected bubonic or pneumonic plague cases are reported. India
India

2003 Epidemic An outbreak of plague is reported in Algeria
Algeria
, in an area considered plague-free for 50 years. Algeria
Algeria

2006 Epidemic 100 cases of suspected pneumonic plague , including 19 deaths, are reported in Orientale Province
Orientale Province
, Congo. Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo

2006 Epidemic 13 cases, with 2 deaths, are reported in the states of New Mexico
Mexico
, Colorado
Colorado
, California
California
, and Texas
Texas
. United States
United States

2009 Infection Plague is reported in Libya, after 25 years without a case of the disease. Libya
Libya

2013 Infection A case of bubonic plague is reported in a region of Kyrgyzstan bordering Kazakhstan. Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan

2013 Infection 783 cases of plague are reported worldwide in 2013, including 126 deaths.

2014 Scientific development Researchers at Duke University School of Medicine
Duke University School of Medicine
and Duke-NUS Medical School Singapore
Singapore
find the yersinia pestis bacteria to hitchhike on immune cells in the lymph nodes and eventually ride into the lungs and the blood stream , thus spreading bubonic plague effectively to others. United States
United States
, Singapore
Singapore

SEE ALSO

* Timeline of cholera * Timeline of tuberculosis * Timeline of typhus

REFERENCES

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