The two reports this morning of sudden waves of deaths in Russia in December from cold and/or respiratory complaints and Klebsiella pneumonia both sound more like residual incidences of pneumonic plague. As far as I’m aware (visibility down to three metres this morning), kids don’t usually get Klebsiella (which resembles the plague), and both cases remind me more of reports in Sam Cohn’s The Black Death Transformed: Disease and Culture in Early Renaissance Europe () of the Manchurian plagues of 1911 and 1922, when high tarabagan (row 10) skin prices caused an influx of large numbers of inexperience trappers, who lived in freezing, dirty, unventilated huts and perished with similar symptoms as a consequence. Interestingly, Russia is one of the states listed by Jane’s Defence as having supplies of the bacterium, and Sverdlovsk was hit back in 1979 by an anthrax (sorry, tainted meat) epidemic. Got a nasty cough myself, I have.

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