Luke Jerram has created this Bacterium Yersinia Pestis sculpture for Museum Het Valkhof‘s Plague exhibition in 2021.

The Plague is an infectious disease caused by the Bacterium Yersinia Pestis. Symptoms include fever, weakness and headache. Usually this begins one to seven days after exposure.

The plague was the cause of the Black Death that swept through Asia, Europe, and Africa in the 14th century and killed an estimated 50 million people. This was about 25% to 60% of the European population. Because the plague killed so many of the working population, wages rose due to the demand for labor.  Some historians see this as a turning point in European economic development.  The disease was also responsible for the Plague of Justinian, originating in the Eastern Roman Empire in the 6th century CE, as well as the third epidemic, affecting China, Mongolia, and India, originating in the Yunnan Province in 1855. The term bubonic is derived from the Greek word βουβών, meaning “groin”

Part of The Plague, an exhibition in Museum Het Valkhof, Nijmegen. Photo: Flip Franssen

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