Rinderpest, Measles and Medieval Emerging Infectious Diseases (via Contagions)

I’ll repost this one here since it does matter for early medieval Europe.

Rinderpest, Measles and Medieval Emerging Infectious Diseases Some diseases seem like they should have always been with us. It has long been thought that measles was one of those with a pedigree stretching back into the depths of Antiquity, as soon as people were living in a high enough concentration to maintain a virus that needs a constant supply of human hosts.   A recent study by Yuki Furuse, Akira Suzuki, and Hitoshi Oshitani show us that this is not the case. All circulating strains of measles (MeV) h … Read More

via Contagions

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3 comments on “Rinderpest, Measles and Medieval Emerging Infectious Diseases (via Contagions)

  1. Renee Yancy says:

    MIchelle: I have just found your blog and I’ve signed up! I’m working on a historical novel set in 5th century Roman Britain. The plot is based on St. Patrick’s Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus. Whithorn and the Fortress of the Britons is where most of the action takes place.

    I found your blog while doing a search on the word “monastery”. I haven’t figured out what to call Whithorn and Ninian’s Candida Casa. “Monastery” originated around 1350, so I’ve discovered.

    I see you’re interested in the plague. I couldn’t use that word in my manuscript, again, because it didn’t exist until much later. The best research I have been able to come up with gives me the phrase “the creeping sickness”. Do you know of any other names for plague that might have been used in my time frame?

    Have you read “plague Tales” by Ann Benson?

    Looking forward to reading your posts.

    • The first plague began in 541, presumably after the setting of your book. Pestilence is the general term used for all epidemic diseases.

      All of the names for Whithorn derive from the English term for it, White House. I think it would have been most common to refer to the church and its foundation. So perhaps St Martin’s church or St Martin’s enclosure, maybe. Perhaps this is why British and Irish places tend to be called by a geographic description – Kildare and Durrow are both named after trees I think. I don’t know that stone churches were as uncommon as Bede thinks among the Romano-British. In Wales at this time churches were usually called Llan – name like Llancarfan, Llantwit Major. Llan means enclosure and its followed by a form of the founders name. Llancarfan is Llan Cadoc, enclosure of Cadoc or Caradoc mutating over the years to carfan. Have you read Tim Clarkson’s The Men of the North: The Britons of Southern Scotland? Also check out Tim Clarkson’s blog Senchus (http://senchus.wordpress.com).

      Good luck with your book!

  2. Renee Yancy says:

    Thank you, MIchelle. I just ordered Tim’s book on Amazon US and look forward to reading it and seeing if there is anything in my manuscript that I need to correct.

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