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While most people have heard of the Black Death, medieval Europe was also afflicted by a less deadly but more perplexing epidemic: the sweating sickness. Yet there was another medieval epidemic that took many thousands of lives, known as the English sweating sickness. Although this disease claimed many fewer lives than the plague, it gained infamy because its victims were What was side sickness within 24 hours by sweating to death. Science has identified the pathogen that caused the plague and current cases are treatable with antibiotics, but no one knows what caused the sweating sickness.
Now modern researchers have proposed two possible pathogens that could have caused it, both of which still kill people today. The disease began abruptly with fever, extreme aches in the neck, shoulders, and extremities, and abdominal pain with vomiting. The outbreaks were mostly contained within England, where they occurred during the summers of, and Then this enigmatic disease vanished.
During those summers, physicians struggled madly to understand the disease, notably Thomas Forrestier in and John Caius in Medical researchers at the Queen Astrid Military Hospital in Brussels have been poring over the medieval reports and comparing them to current epidemiology.
Last January, they published their review article in the journal Viruses. It reveals that English sweating sickness may be deeply entrenched in the history of England. The illness is first reported at the Battle of Bosworth, when Lord Stanley used it a convenient excuse for withdrawing his army, only to then betray the king and side with Henry.
Although the disease was first known in England, Heyman and his colleagues are exploring le that it may not have originated there. The mercenaries Henry Tudor commissioned from France for his coup may have unknowingly transported the disease to England after somehow acquiring it during their campaign against the Ottoman Empire at Rhodes in Only one outbreak traversed the English Channel.
After 2, people died in London inthe Sweat travelled via ship to Hamburg, Germany, where over a thousand deaths occurred in a month. Heyman and his colleagues now conclude that a plausible suspect for this deadly disease is hantavirus. This virus is transmitted by certain mice, rats, and voles, which never show s of illness, and humans become infected by inhaling aerosolized rodent urine or faeces.
Aside from a outbreak in Argentina, there are no cases of hantavirus transmitting person-to-person. The clinical manifestations of the Sweat are hauntingly similar to hantavirus pulmonary syndrome HPS. The infamous outbreak in at the Four Corners region of the US killed 10 out of 23 victims. No treatment exists aside from mechanical ventilation. Imagining the Sweat as a New World hantavirus that was transported back to England may be tempting, but Heyman says that would mean the first outbreak would have taken place after the Americas were discovered in HPS also does not involve extreme sweating, casting doubt on whether it What was side sickness responsible for the Sweat, although it is conceivable that a novel hantavirus with HPS-like and sweating symptoms evolved in Medieval Europe.
Another potential culprit is anthrax, according to microbiologist Edward McSweegan, which is caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. The symptoms in the 22 cases of inhalation anthrax during the bioterrorism attacks ofwhich resulted in five deaths, include copious sweating, exhaustion, and sudden onset. Anthrax is more common among animals; there is currently an outbreak among cattle in Peshawar, Pakistan, with 14 bulls dead by the end of March.
To become infected, the bacterial spores must enter the body, so it cannot transmit between people, only by inhaling or ingesting spores, or getting spores in an open wound. Each of these methods causes slightly different symptoms. The last version, cutaneous anthrax, involves skin lesions, but lesions are not common in the other two forms.
McSweegan says the English sweating sickness could have been contracted from anthrax spores in wool, although he admits that inhalation anthrax was likely rare prior to industrialized wool production. Why did English sweating sickness occur in random summers? The answer could be climate change. Heyman and his colleagues found reports that outbreaks may have followed years when crops were damaged by floods. Regarding vectors of a potential hantavirus, rodent s increase during the summer and spike in mast years, when trees are particularly productive.
Heyman says, "it probably only needed certain circumstances to provoke large-scale outbreaks. Heyman, P. Viruses 6: — McSweegan, E. Anthrax and the etiology of the English sweating sickness. Medical Hypotheses — Jared Bernard Published in 15 May Popular articles.
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Besides battle wounds, what illnesses were common in the Middle Ages?