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Scientists Find Medieval Plague Outbreaks Picked up Speed Over 300 Years
October 19, 2020, HeritageDaily by Staff

McMaster University researchers who analyzed thousands of documents covering a 300-year span of plague outbreaks in London, England, have estimated that the disease spread four times faster in the 17th century than it had in the 14th century.

The findings, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show a striking acceleration in plague transmission between the Black Death of 1348, estimated to have wiped out more than one-third of the population of Europe, and later epidemics, which culminated in the Great Plague of 1665.

Researchers found that in the 14th century, the number of people infected during an outbreak doubled approximately every 43 days. By the 17th century, the number was doubling every 11 days.

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