The pestilence referred to the bubonic plague and it now refers to any epidemic disease that is highly contagious, infectious, virulent and devastating. The plague was, a highly contagious, infectious, virulent, devastating disease due to a bacteria called Yersinia pestis which mainly infects rats and other rodents that serve as the prime reservoir for the bacteria. Fleas function as the prime vectors carrying the bacteria from one species to another. The fleas bite the rodents infected with Y. pestis and then they bite people and so transmit the disease to them. Transmission of the plague to people can also occur from eating infected animals such as squirrels (e.g., in the southeastern U.S.) Once someone has the plague, they can transmit it to another person via aerosol droplets. The word "pestilence" comes from "pestis," the Latin word for "plague." Because the plague was responsible for so many deaths, the plague and death have long been linked in literature. The 14th- century English poet Geoffrey Chaucer spoke of "pestilence" in "The Pardoner's Tale": "Ther cam a privee theef men clepeth Deeth, / That in this contree al the peple sleeth, / And with his spere he smoot his herte atwo, / And wente his wey withouten wordes mo. / He hath a thousand slayn this pestilence." "La Peste" (The Plague), a novel by the Nobel Prize-winning 20th- century French writer Albert Camus, is set in the Algerian city of Oran overrun by a deadly epidemic of the plague.
* * *
1. SYN: plague (2). 2. A virulent outbreak of any disease. [L. pestilentia]

* * *

pes·ti·lence 'pes-tə-lən(t)s n a contagious or infectious epidemic disease that is virulent and devastating specif BUBONIC PLAGUE

* * *

pes·ti·lence (pesґtĭ-ləns) [L. pestilentia] any virulent contagious or infectious epidemic disease; also an epidemic of such a disease.

Medical dictionary. 2011.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • pestilence — [ pɛstilɑ̃s ] n. f. • 1120 « tentation, occasion de pécher »; lat. pestilentia, de pestis « épidémie » 1 ♦ (1170) Vx Maladie épidémique caractérisée par une forte mortalité. Spécialt La peste. 2 ♦ (1256) Mod. Odeur infecte, miasme putride. ⇒… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Pestilence — Pestilence …   Википедия

  • Pestilence — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Pestilence es una banda de death metal de los Países Bajos fundada en 1986. Después incorporarían más elementos de Jazz fusión a su música. Lanzaron cuatro álbums antes de separarse en 1994 y volver a reunirse en… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Pestilence — Pes ti*lence, n. [F. pestilence, L. pestilentia. See {Pestilent}.] 1. Specifically, the disease known as the plague; hence, any contagious or infectious epidemic disease that is virulent and devastating. [1913 Webster] The pestilence That walketh …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Pestilence — Pays d’origine  Pays Bas Genre musical Death metal Années d activité 1986 1994 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • pestilence — Pestilence. s. f. Corruption de l air, peste répanduë dans un païs. Dans le temps de la pestilence. il y eut une grande pestilence …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • pestilence — c.1300, from O.Fr. pestilence, from L. pestilentia plague, noun of action from pestilentem (nom. pestilens) infected, unwholesome, noxious, from pestis deadly disease, plague …   Etymology dictionary

  • Pestilence — Allgemeine Informationen Genre(s) Death Metal Gründung 1985 Auflösung 1994 Neugründung 2008 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • pestilence — index nuisance Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • pestilence — [n] epidemic contagion, disease, endemic, infection, outbreak, plague, rash, scourge, sickness, virus; concepts 306,316 …   New thesaurus

  • pestilence — Pestilence, Pestilentia …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.