Few who caught it survived. Up to half the population of Europe perished, along with a lot of their social and economic ways.
The cause of the Black Death was subject to every possible explanation except the actual one, Yersina pestis, a bacterium associated with rats and their insect parasites, fleas and lice, who also enjoyed an association with humans living in the generally squalid conditions of the day — the ancient Roman habit of bathing long forgotten. At the top of their list of causes was an angry God, and his wicked erstwhile subordinate, Satan. The "experts" of that time tended to cluster in the church hierarchy, with its drear obsessions and compulsions. The squishy boundary between the supernatural and reality loosed all manner of derangement. The Jews came in for much vilification, leading to massacres in Strasbourg, Mainz, and Cologne. On the whole, the episode represented a terrific humbling of humanity. The allegory of the Dance Macabre summed it up in mankind's universal antic journey to the Palookaville of death.