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Plague Trivia

Plague Trivia Quizzes

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8 Plague quizzes and 80 Plague trivia questions.
  Influenza   best quiz  
Ordering Quiz
 10 Qns
A History of Global Epidemics
'You treat me like an influenza...' Influenza, or flu for short, is more than just a cold - it's a killer. This quiz is not just about flu, but about other deadly epidemics in history as well. Can you put these epidemics in the order they happened?
Easier, 10 Qns, Kankurette, Jan 23 24
Kankurette gold member
Jan 23 24
299 plays
  Love In The Time of Cholera and Other Plagues   popular trivia quiz  
Ordering Quiz
 10 Qns
Humans have experienced a variety of plagues and epidemics over the centuries. Please put these events in the correct chronological order. To help in this, I have included the start date of the epidemic.
Easier, 10 Qns, stephgm67, Jun 04 22
stephgm67 gold member
Jun 04 22
366 plays
  The Black Death Test   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
This is my first quiz and it's on the deadly Black Death in Europe. I hope you like it and have fun. :)
Average, 10 Qns, King_Thingol, Jan 04 12
4815 plays
  The Problem of the Plague   best quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
In 1348-9, the Black Death killed twenty million people, a third of the population of Europe. The effort to explain exactly what caused this pestilence has gone on for hundreds of years - here we sample theories from medieval and modern times.
Difficult, 10 Qns, CellarDoor, Jul 05 07
CellarDoor gold member
3697 plays
  Could It Get Any Worse?   best quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
While the Black Death is perhaps the best known plague in history, there have been many other plagues and epidemics that have devastated humankind. This is a quiz all about those plagues and epidemics that made people ask, "Could it get any worse?"
Average, 10 Qns, tiffanyram, Feb 21 16
tiffanyram gold member
460 plays
  The Ultimate The Black Death Quiz   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
The Black Death had a significant impact on the population of Europe in the fourteenth century, and remains a source of macabre fascination today.
Average, 10 Qns, Tan72, Apr 03 13
832 plays
  The Plague, Bawth, the Plague ... Achoo!   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
My third quiz! It's 1347. Europe.Your job's good, the family's healthy, and taxes okay. A deadly menace approaches. You itch and scratch. What do you shout to Mr. Rourke (who pitches fine Corinthian leather)? Exactly! A quiz about the Black Death.
Difficult, 10 Qns, benniebenbenny, Jan 08 08
1871 plays
  The Memorable Black Death   great trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
This is about the awful disease that made our world a horrible place to live in.
Average, 10 Qns, thingie001, Mar 10 14
736 plays
trivia question Quick Question
The most widely held modern belief is that bubonic plague was carried by fleas living on what common pest?

From Quiz "The Problem of the Plague"

Plague Trivia Questions

1. What flea-bearing creatures spread the Plague?

From Quiz
The Memorable Black Death

Answer: Rodents

They spread the Plague, and made millions of deaths around the world possible. They travelled to other countries in many ways, and if they hadn't, the Plague might have remained confined to the region where it originated.

2. The bubonic plague is an example of zoonotic (animal) infection (where an animal illness is passed on to humans). Which animal is commonly blamed for spreading the Black Death?

From Quiz The Black Death

Answer: Rats

The plague was spread through the bites of fleas that lived on rats. At the time of the Black Death pandemic, rats were an unfortunate fact of life, living quite closely with humans. Hygiene standards were very different from today, often providing a ready source of food for rats, and increasing the opportunities for the illness to be passed on to humans.

3. The plague in the sixth century was thought by medieval doctors to have been caused by what reptiles in the rivers?

From Quiz The Problem of the Plague

Answer: serpents

Serpents, snakes, and dragons were closely associated with each other and with evil in the medieval mind; after all, it was a serpent who had tempted Eve in the garden. Although no one saw waterborne snakes in the 1348 epidemic, many believed that poisoned breath from snakes in the far East had spread through the air and caused the Plague.

4. What event in London in 1666 is said to have wiped out the Plague?

From Quiz The Memorable Black Death

Answer: The Great Fire of London

Even though the Plague was already declining rapidly, it is widely believed that the Great Fire of London killed the rats and at least greatly accelerated end of the Plague.

5. In which country is it believed that the first outbreak of the Black Death occurred?

From Quiz The Black Death

Answer: China

The plague was circulating in Asia prior to this, with a grave found near Lake Issyk Kul in Kyrgyzstan which gives the names of two early plague victims. The inscription reads "In the year of the hare (1339). This is the grave of Kutluk. He died of the plague with his wife, Magnu-Kelka." However, medical geneticists have confirmed that the first outbreak of the plague occurred in either the Yunnan province in China, before spreading to the other countries listed. It is believed that marmots may have passed on the illness to humans.

6. What were the actual disease(s) nicknamed the Black Death?

From Quiz The Black Death

Answer: Bubonic Plague, Pneumonic Plague

At the time it was called the 'great plague' or the 'great pestilence'. The term 'Black Death' was NOT used at the time and appears to date from the 1830s.

7. A more tragic misconception was that Europe's traditional scapegoats -- the Jews -- were somehow responsible. Throughout northern and western Europe, Jews were forced under torture to confess to having caused the Black Death by doing what?

From Quiz The Problem of the Plague

Answer: poisoning wells

The accusation was laughable but the results were not. Thousands of Jews were burned by local governments, slaughtered by mobs, or exiled from the cities they had inhabited for generations. Pope Clement VI was able to protect the Jews living near him in Avignon, and some bishops also protected the Jews in their dioceses, but most clerics were perfectly content to take their confiscated property. A few secular governments, such as the city council of Strasbourg, also attempted to protect the Jews in their jurisdictions; these governments were overthrown by angry mobs and replaced with more anti-Semitic ones. It was the aftermath of the Black Death that led so many Jews to settle in Poland, where there was little anti-Semitism until the mid-1600s.

8. Along which well-known trading route is the plague believed to have travelled into Europe?

From Quiz The Black Death

Answer: Silk Route

The Silk Route, the main trade route between China and Europe, is believed to have facilitated the spread of the Black Death across Asia and the Middle East. Death and infection followed this major trading route. The Amber Route facilitated the trade of amber between the Baltic and Mediterranean seas. The Spice Route linked ports in Asia, Africa, and Europe, and facilitated the distribution of shipments of ginger, cinnamon, pepper and other sought after spices. The Incense Route linked the Mediterranean countries (via the Red Dea) with those in East Africa, India, and Arabia.

9. Where in Europe did people have the best chance of avoiding the Black Death?

From Quiz The Black Death

Answer: Poland

Amazingly, most of Poland wasn't affected by the 1350 outbreak. Definitely not Italy because that's where the ship landed! Spain and The Holy Roman Empire were close. Poland's isolation meant it didn't get the plague until the 1360s and 1370s.

10. Historically, when a human being contracted the Bubonic Plague, death was likely imminent. What was the fate of the other two in the cycle, the rat (black rat-Rattus Rattus, Brown rat-Rattus Norvegicus) and the flea (Xenopsylla Cheopsis)?

From Quiz The Plague, Bawth, the Plague ... Achoo!

Answer: Both rat and flea died

The infected rat suffered the same fate as the human, dying within a week. When the bacterium (Yersinia Pestis) from an infected rodent was ingested by the flea, the flea's stomach became blocked. This resulting hunger drove the flea in search of food, biting and feeding voraciously on its new victim, the human. Infected flea blood then passed on to the host while the flea died of starvation. The cycle continued. The bacterium, Yersinia Pestis, resembles a chromosome strand. It was named after the Swiss bacteriologist, Alexandre Yersin, who identified it in 1894.

11. The most widely held modern belief is that bubonic plague was carried by fleas living on what common pest?

From Quiz The Problem of the Plague

Answer: rats

Rats were everywhere in the Middle Ages, and frequently stowed away on board cargo ships. This would explain the plague's transmission to places like England and Iceland, across a barrier of water from the continent.

12. Cholera is a disease that has caused at least seven different pandemics and killed at least 40 million people throughout its history, including former U.S. president James K. Polk. Where did it originate?

From Quiz Could It Get Any Worse?

Answer: India

The disease originated along the Ganges, and, in 1817, it spread throughout India after a festival in Calcutta. By this time, steam-powered modes of transportation were in use and this spread the disease more quickly causing the first worldwide cholera pandemic from 1817-1823. This pandemic ultimately led to the creation of more sanitary sewage systems as doctors called for cleaner living conditions due to the belief that the disease was caused by 'bad air' or miasma.

13. How many people are thought to have been killed worldwide by the Plague in the fourteenth century?

From Quiz The Memorable Black Death

Answer: 75 million to 200 million

40% of people in Egypt were killed by this. Half of Paris's population of 100,000 were killed. In crowded cities, it was very common for about 50% of people to die.

14. What was the best way to repel the plague?

From Quiz The Black Death

Answer: Stay away from other people as far as possible and avoid rats

Fleas living on infected rats are what spread the plague, and contact with other people didn't help. If you stayed in bed all day you were more likely to be bitten. At church you were also likely get a flea bite. ( No offence to Christians)

15. One explanation for the entry of the Black Death into Europe is that an invading army besieged a diseased city in the Crimea ... and the citizens did what?

From Quiz The Problem of the Plague

Answer: flung infected corpses over the walls

It is not known, however, whether bubonic plague can be caught from cadavers.

16. There was more than one variety of epidemic that made up the Black Death. Which form of the Plague was the most common?

From Quiz The Memorable Black Death

Answer: Bubonic Plague

The Pneumonic Plague was the most deadly form of the Plague. If left untreated, Bubonic Plague kills about 50% of those infected. The other two forms are usually fatal without antibiotics.

17. In what year did the Black Death arrive in England?

From Quiz The Black Death

Answer: 1348

The first recorded instance of the plague in England was in 1348, with some historians placing the location as the port city of Bristol, which was the second largest city in England at that time. Other historians believe it entered via Weymouth, where there is a plaque commerating this. Regardless of point (or points) of entry, it soon spread to London, and then across the rest of the British Isles. 1666 marked a subsequent outbreak in England, with the Great Fire of London believed to have helped end that outbreak by destroying the many nesting places of the rats. There was a smaller outbreak of the Black Death around 1400, but it was not as virulent as the 1348 outbreak.

18. A competing medieval theory for how the Black Death reached Europe involved three infected ships which stopped first at what Italian city before being driven from port to port, not allowed to stop and unload, spreading pestilence in their wake?

From Quiz The Problem of the Plague

Answer: Genoa

Although the story has appealing parallels to legends like that of the Flying Dutchman, it is no longer considered particularly plausible. The chronicler Louis Sanctus of Beringen, however, recorded it as fact in April of 1348.

19. Where did the Black Death originate?

From Quiz The Memorable Black Death

Answer: China

It originated in China and spread by the Silk Road and/or by a ship. It has been suggested that the fact that the Mongols largely stopped trade on the Silk Road in the 1330s may have postponed the spread of the Plague to Europe by a decade or so.

20. What proportion of the European population is believed to have died as a result of the Black Plague pandemic around the middle of the fourteenth century?

From Quiz The Black Death

Answer: 30-60%

Approximately 50% of the population is believed to have died during the height of the Black Death (1348-1350). This varied considerably depending on the version of the plague that was contracted, and the region where the individual lived (some towns experienced close to 100% death rate). In particular the septicaemic and pneumonic strains of the plague had close to 100% mortality. In numerical terms between 75 and 200 million people worldwide may have died.

21. Bubonic Plague is a disease primarily carried by rodents. Which rodent is believed to carry the most deadly strains of the disease?

From Quiz The Plague, Bawth, the Plague ... Achoo!

Answer: The Marmot ( large squirrel )

Yes, it's true. It's that cute furry puffball all right. With the exception of the Black Rat (Family Muridae), the plague culprits belong to the Family Sciuridae. They include marmots, tree squirrels, chipmunks, ground squirrels, woodchucks (a.k.a. groundhogs, a type of marmot), Eurasian flying squirrels, and prairie dogs. Interesting note: It was the marmot, and not the rat, that was likely responsible for most of the plague outbreaks in history. The rat happened to be the bearer of bad tidings among the general population. It therefore can be argued that the marmot deserves (at the very least) equal billing with the rat as villains in the deaths of millions.

22. In Paris during the Black Death, the king convened a group of scholars who announced that the plague was caused by what?

From Quiz The Problem of the Plague

Answer: an astrological problem: Saturn in the house of Jupiter

Although all of these theories were advanced by scholars in 1348, the king's commission decided the answer was in the stars.

23. Medieval people called the Black Death of the 14th century 'the Great Plague' or another name. What was this name?

From Quiz The Memorable Black Death

Answer: The Great Pestilence

Writers contemporary to the Plague sometimes called it the Great Mortality. The arguably 'Gothic' term 'Black Death' only became popular from the 1820s on, though a very small number of earlier uses of the term from c. 1630 on have been found in Scandinavian literature.

24. What group of men thought the Black Death was a punishment from God and went from town to town whipping themselves?

From Quiz The Black Death

Answer: The Flagellants

The Merry Men are from Robin Hood. The College of Cardinals is the body that elects the Pope. Crusaders were the people who traveled to the Holy Land to win it back from the Muslims. Flagellation, previously practised mainly in private or only on certain types of pilgrimages, became very public and remained popular for the rest of the Middle Ages and beyond.

25. Modern academics Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe claim that bubonic plague is a classic example of what disease vector they call 'vertical transmission'?

From Quiz The Problem of the Plague

Answer: Pathogens arrive on earth in an 'organic rain' from passing comets

Their theory is seriously undermined by their argument that ALL diseases MUST have come from space (since no bacteria could have evolved on Earth, oh no) and by their fundamental misunderstanding of Darwin's theory of evolution. In epidemiology, vertical transmission refers to the transfer of diseases from mother to fetus.

26. By what name did most Europeans refer to the Black Death?

From Quiz The Black Death

Answer: The Great Pestilence

The term 'Black Death' was not used until the sixteenth century by Swedish and Danish writers. Some writers believe that the word 'Black' refers to the gangrene and under skin haemorrhages experienced by many plague victims. Justus Hecker, a German writer and physician, argued in his 1832 history of the Black Death, that a mistranslation of a Latin phrase 'atra mors' had occurred and that 'Black' meant 'dreadful' or 'terrible' (describing the time and circumstances) and was not primarily a physical description of the illness. It is after the publication of his book that the term 'Black Death' became widely used in the description of the 1348-1350 pandemic.

27. What actually spread the Black Death?

From Quiz The Black Death

Answer: Fleas

It was fleas who lived on rats who spread the disease. The fleas got infected, then bit the rats and got them sick, then the fleas bit the people.

28. There is a popular children's nursery rhyme that has been traditionally linked (without evidence) to the Black Death of 1347-51 and the London Plague of 1665-1666. Which rhyme is it?

From Quiz The Plague, Bawth, the Plague ... Achoo!

Answer: Ring a Ring o' Roses

The earliest printed reference to "Ring around the Roses" (aka "Ring a Ring o' Roses") was the publication of Kate Greenaway's "Mother Goose or The Old Nursery Rhymes" in 1881, and the earliest known handwritten version dates from about 1790. The simultaneous existence of slight variations of this nursery rhyme, which in no way could be connected to the Plagues, cast doubt on any connection whatsoever. The earliest suggestion of a nursery rhyme-plague connection might have been in the 1961 book "The Plague and the Fire" by James Leasor. This is one classic example of a "germ" of an idea that took flight, became an urban legend,and today still trip up many an interested reader. (Urban Legends Reference Pages at

29. The invention of microscopes enabled doctors to identify the bacillus that causes bubonic plague. What is its name?

From Quiz The Problem of the Plague

Answer: Yersinia pestis

Called Y. pestis for short. E. coli is responsible for most modern food poisoning associated with beef, although humans could not survive without its presence in our guts.

30. In 1347, the Plague was first introduced to which continent?

From Quiz The Memorable Black Death

Answer: Europe

In Europe, it first started in the city of Caffa in the Crimea. From there it spread by ship to some of the Italian ports. When people discovered what was happening, some other Italian port turned ships away and they then docked in French ports ... The rapid spread of the Plague to England, Scandinavia, the Iberian Peninsula and most of Central Europe and Russia was soon under way. For reasons that are unknown most of Poland was unaffected by the Plauge in the Middle Ages.

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