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The Great PlagueA People's History$
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Evelyn Lord

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780300173819

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300173819.001.0001

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The Final Toll

The Final Toll

(p.128) Chapter 10 The Final Toll
The Great Plague

Evelyn Lord

Yale University Press

The final toll of plague deaths given in the Cambridge Bills of Mortality was 920 burials in churchyards and pest house plague pits, amounting to 12 percent of the population of the town. Of those who died of the plague, 70 percent were adults and 30 percent children. Most of the child deaths came in the first onslaught of the plague in 1665. Of the adults, 41 percent were men, and 49 percent were women. The last serious outbreak of plague in Britain was that of 1666. The plague disappeared because of the Great Fire of London, which destroyed unsanitary and overcrowded housing and burned the thatched roofs that housed plague-infected rats. Initially thought by everyone as caused by bad air, it is now known that the plague was caused by a bacillus, Yersinia pestis, identified by Dr. Alexandre Yersin in 1894. Yersin found that the bacillus that caused the plague was primarily a disease of rats.

Keywords:   final toll, plague, deaths, Bills of Mortality, Great Fire, London, rats, bacillus, Yersinia pestis, Alexandre Yersin

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