Thursday, December 11, 2014

What was with the bird's beak?

Named after scientist and scholar Nicolas Steno (1638-1686), the Steno Museum is located in the southern part of the Aarhus University park (or campus). The Steno Museum is dedicated to tell the history of science and medicine. I took these pictures on 7 May. To illustrates, apart from the fear of contracting the Black Death that killed 2 million people, the superstitions of our ancestors.




This Beak Mask was filled with vinegar, sweet oils, and other strong-smelling chemicals to mask the stench of death and unburied bodies. In addition, herbs like garlic, was added to fight off the plague in the air before the doctor could breath it in. Phew!

The Glass Eyes protected the doctors against evil (aka the deadly disease).
The Black Overcoat minimized skin exposure. Doctors tucked the neckline of their long overcoat behind the mask. The coat extended down to the feet and was often completely coated with suet (a hard, white fat on the kidneys and loins of cattle and sheep, usually used in puddings and pastries) or wax. Doctors thought the suet could draw the plague away from the flesh of the infected or the wax could repel it.
The Leather Breeches protected the legs and groin from infection. Because the infection tended to attack the lymph nodes first, doctors paid close attention to cover and protect their armits, neck and groin.
The Wooden Cane directed family members on how and where to move infected patients and to examine them without direct contact.



"Is the Black Death Coming and Who's to Blame?"
asks Stephanie Ocano.       

The country of Madagascar is known for its tranquil beaches, exotic wildlife and rich culture. But something else also inhabits the island that is now making headlines: The Black Death. Perhaps best known as the Bubonic Plague that is generally associated with the Middle Ages when rats, fleas and poor hygiene resulted in the deaths of approximately 200 million people.

Madagascar has been one of the world’s last remaining hotspots for the plague but the illness has been mostly isolated in rural villages and self-contained... until now.

On Friday, Nov. 21, the World Health Organization announced an “outbreak of the plague” in Madagascar. Cases have been reported in 16 districts of the seven regions.

Now that the disease has made it to a densely populated area, a major outbreak seems inevitable. The capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo, houses the prime conditions for a disease such as the plague to spread, similar to those in 14th century Europe – garbage is dumped in the streets and public restroom conditions are terrible. Black rats, which were the primary vector for the disease in the Middle Ages, also roam freely between buildings.

Whichever variety of the plague, as the disease progresses its victim lapses into recurrent seizures, Alzheimic confusion, coma and internal hemorrhaging. Death can result in as little as 24 hours
"Belief in old practices, rampant misinformation, and apathetic, corrupt politicians have combined to make the current outbreak much more widespread than it should be,"

For now, the World Health Organization does not recommend any travel or trade restriction based on the current information available.