Here is a sobering article about the on-going threat of the bubonic plague. Even now, there are ten to twenty cases in America each year.
Many scholars speculate that Julian of Norwich may have lost family members to the plague. We know that she lived through several outbreaks of the pestilence. It’s important to remember that, despite the advances of science and technology and the comfort that first worlders can take in access to treatment, still on a very primal level the world we live in is not so very different from the world of the medieval mystics.