Month: August 2012

A skull from the East Smithfield plague pits in London, located under what is now the Royal Mint. Researchers announced today that they have sequenced the entire genome of the Black Death, one of the most devastating epidemics in human history. Photo by Museum of London

The Lived Experience of the Black Death

To appreciate the importance of the biological effects of disease on a society’s lived experience, it can be useful to look at modern examples. Polio provides an excellent example. Children who survive an infection of polio – and escape the neurological incapacitation that can result in disability up to paraplegia – have a fifty percent chance of suffering the similar effects of post-polio syndrome later in life.