U.S. public health officials have discovered fleas infected with the bubonic plague—sometimes called the “Black Death”—in the state of Arizona. This is the same bacterium that killed millions of people in Europe in the fourteenth century. Infected fleas transmit the plague to animals, usually rodents, and either a rodent or flea bite can transfer the disease to humans (IB Times, August 14, 2017). Fleas and rodents carrying forms of the plague are not uncommon in rural areas of the American Southwest, and in parts of Africa, Asia, and South America, several thousand people have been infected and more than 500 have died since 2010 (who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs267/en/, April 2017).
This recent episode of bubonic plague in Arizona will probably not spread very far this year, but it is instructive from the perspective of Bible prophecy. Jesus Christ prophesied that one of the signs of the end of the age would be “pestilences” or disease epidemics (Luke 21:11). When we hear of small incidences of diseases stemming from deadly microorganisms, it should be a reminder that the potential for a major outbreak and the fulfillment of end-time prophecies is lurking just beneath the surface. Given the right timing and conditions, a large-scale outbreak could happen quickly. For information on other signs of the end of the age prophesied by Jesus Christ and His prophets, watch “Seven Prophetic Keys for 2017.”