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, 18 (3), 218-23

Reflections on Crisis Burials Related to Past Plague Epidemics


Reflections on Crisis Burials Related to Past Plague Epidemics

M Signoli. Clin Microbiol Infect.


Drawing its etymology from the Latin pestis (curse), plague, over the centuries, has been more dreaded by humankind than any other epidemic. The Apocalypse had recognized plague as the archetypal divine curse, 'the power to kill over a fourth of the earth'. Plague is thus a particular topic of study, insofar that it is one of the rare epidemics that has had recurrent major consequences on demography and human societies. Its highly transmissible nature, the brutality of its action, its high pathogenicity, marked by strong lethality and great swiftness, and the complete absence of treatment options before the 20th century conferred on it a sinister aspect. Generating a series of severe demographic crises, well known in the Western world, it has necessarily influenced the evolution of societies at both the biological and cultural levels.

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