CEFR Level B1 Reading test 1 – Pandemics in history. In order to improve your English skills to CEFR Level B1 and beyond, you need to practice as much as possible. In this section of our free English course, you can test your reading skills with this text. Read the passage then answer the questions that follow. When you have completed the test, you will see how many answers where correct, and you will also see feedback on the right and wrong answers.
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Serious outbreaks of infection have happened many times throughout history.
In the 14th century, the bubonic plague is thought to have killed anywhere between 30% and 60% of Europe’s population. In the late 1870s the bubonic plague emerged again, this time in south central China. Thousands of people were killed in Canton and the bubonic plague spread along rivers and shipping routes. The pathogen spread to Hawaii and then to San Francisco, transmitted on a regular trade route.
The first bubonic plague victim in San Francisco who lived in the city’s poor, dirty and overcrowded Chinatown district died in March 1900. An incorrect conspiracy theory at the time was that people of European descent could not catch the infection. The reality was that white Americans did not enter especially deprived areas where Asian populations lived and where the bacteria thrived, so they were not exposed to the dangers to the same extent as the migrant workers that lived in those areas.
Although knowledge at the time was limited as to what caused the infection, scientists trying to contain the outbreak understood that infected areas needed to be quarantined and cleaned. They faced opposition from city officials, many of whom wanted to ignore the problem instead. The Governor of California, who didn’t support the closing of state borders because of the problems it would create for the $25-million fruit harvest, wrote official letters about what he called the ‘fake plague’. Science however prevailed and experts began to make the link between the infection and how it was being passed around the community. It became clear that the problem was caused by flea-infected rats. Actions were subsequently taken to wipe out the rats and to disinfect the city, old buildings were also demolished.
By 1905 the city of San Francisco was considered to be safe again; however, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake in 1906 caused damage to buildings and other infrastructure which led to a new increase in infection because the rat population grew again as they took over devastated land and buildings and open sewers. After another huge effort to close down the infection, San Francisco was finally declared plague free in November 1908, though the disease was observed to have crossed over from the rat population to squirrels.
The bubonic plague is still found in the area today. On average around seven people a year are still infected in the U.S.A., most of them picking up the infection while hiking, but nowadays it can be very effectively treated by antibiotics.
Match the paragraphs with the best paragraph headings. One heading is not needed.
- Paragraph 1
- Paragraph 2
- Paragraph 3
- Paragraph 4
- Paragraph 5
- NOT USED
Are the sentences true, false or not mentioned?
The bubonic plague is the deadliest infection ever known.CorrectIncorrect
San Francisco’s first plague victim lived in poverty.CorrectIncorrect
No white Americans died of the bubonic plague in San Francisco.CorrectIncorrect
Local politicians did all they could to contain the infection.CorrectIncorrect
A number of actions were taken to sort out the problem.CorrectIncorrect
A natural disaster occurred not long after the bubonic plague was first contained in San Francisco.CorrectIncorrect
The bubonic plague is now a bigger problem in squirrels than in rats.CorrectIncorrect
The bubonic plague can be successfully treated by medicine today.CorrectIncorrect