pestilence

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pestilence

 [pes´tĭ-lens]
a virulent contagious epidemic or infectious epidemic disease. adj., adj pestilen´tial.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

pes·ti·lence

(pes'ti-lens),
1. Synonym(s): plague (2)
2. A virulent outbreak of any disease.
[L. pestilentia]
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012

pestilence

(pĕs′tə-ləns)
n.
A usually fatal epidemic disease, especially bubonic plague.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

pestilence

noun An obsolete, non-specific term for an epidemic with high mortality.
 
adjective Malodorous.
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.

pes·ti·lence

(pes'ti-lĕns)
1. Synonym(s): plague (2) .
2. A virulent outbreak of any disease.
[L. pestilentia]
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012
References in classic literature ?
That night a procession passed, by torchlight, through the streets, bearing in the midst the figure of a woman, enveloped with a richly embroidered mantle; while in advance stalked Jervase Helwyse, waving the red flag of the pestilence. Arriving opposite the Province House, the mob burned the effigy, and a strong wind came and swept away the ashes.
Yes, very sadly, a volume of plagues and pestilences predicted that this world has never witnessed before.
In the 14th century, most citizens could not flee pestilences threatening their towns, but civil authorities sought to protect them by excluding suspected human carriers and merchandise from outside.
George Washington made a momentous decision to inoculate all new recruits and finally halt the pestilences progress.
We no longer call such diseases plagues or pestilences, but that does not alter or reduce their threat.
The boom in fast travel and trade, jetting people and their goods from continent to continent in just hours, spreads wildlife pestilences just as it does human diseases.
If the God of plagues and pestilences is out there, and if this God does not take kindly to the oppression of the weak and downtrodden, then I think I need to worry a lot.