The good news is that we’ve cut the mortality rate for the plague by a lot. The disease used to kill around half of its victims, but since the advent of modern antibiotics we’ve reduced that to about 10 percent. The odds are even better if you can get the meds within 24 hours of your first symptoms. Delays in treatment give the bacteria more time to spread and cause bubonic bulges.
The word “bubonic” refers to the swollen lymph nodes in the armpit and groin that patients get from the bacteria. The bulges are called “buboes,” and they’re gross—but they’re not the worst thing about the plague. The worst thing is the gangrene.
Gangrene - Word - Blood - Pus - Body
Gangrene is another vaguely onomatopoeic word that means “flesh that dies when it can’t receive blood and then starts oozing foul-smelling pus and decaying right there on your body, egads.” Gangrene can happen almost anywhere on the body, but the plague tends to produce it at the extremities (and also—horrifyingly—on the lips and the tip of the nose). If that doesn’t deter you from trying to pet squirrels in rural New Mexico, nothing will.
Fortunately, modern antibiotics are quite effective at killing the bacteria, especially if taken early. And unlike ancient days...