Long handled cautery, Europe, undated

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Long handled cautery, Europe, undated. Bubonic plague causes enlarged glands or buboes on the neck, groin and armpits. The buboes were cauterised in an attempt to prevent larger buboes forming but it probably did not save many lives. (Cauterisation is the use of heat to burn or remove part of the body.) It was thought that the disease spread from human contact, which is why this cautery has a long handle. Bubonic plague is actually transmitted by fleas on rats. Contributors: Science Museum, London. Work ID: pc5ubnbk.

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