Tag Archives: plague

Lessons from plague

Since ancient times, Yersinia pestis has wreaked havoc on the human population. What can the transmission and evolution of this unusual pathogen teach us about how we might prepare for future emergent pathogens? Continue reading

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Distinct clones of Yersinia pestis caused the Black Death

Several historical epidemic waves of plague have been attributed to Yersinia pestis, the etiologic agent of modern plague. The most famous of these was the second pandemic which was active in Europe from AD 1347 until 1750, and began with … Continue reading

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Plague, rats and fleas

Arthropod-borne transmission of bacterial pathogens is somewhat rare but has evolved in a phylogenetically diverse group that includes the rickettsiae, Borrelia spirochetes, and the gram-negative bacteria Francisella tularensis and Yersinia pestis, the plague bacillus. Y. pestis circulates among many species … Continue reading

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10 Things You Should Know About Pneumonic Plague

On Sunday BBC World Service emailed me to ask about the outbreak of pneumonic plague in China (latest news). Unfortunately, I didn’t get the email until today, but for BBC World Service (and everyone else), here are: 10 Things You … Continue reading

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Plague: Past, Present, and Future

The Past: Plague has given rise to at least three major pandemics. The first (the Justinian plague) spread around the Mediterranean Sea in the 6th century AD, the second (the Black Death) started in Europe in the 14th century and … Continue reading

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A bacteriophage contributes to the pathogenicity of the plague bacillus

Yersinia pestis, the plague bacillus, has an exceptional pathogenicity but the factors responsible for its extreme virulence are still unknown. A genome comparison with its less virulent ancestor Yersinia pseudotuberculosis identified a few Y. pestis-specific regions acquired after their divergence. … Continue reading

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Ancient Plague

Subscribe to podcasts (free): [iTunes] Enhanced podcasts [RSS] mp3 podcasts (audio only) Download this podcast (free): Enhanced version mp3 version (audio only) When I say the word pandemic, you probably think first of influenza, and in the present circumstances, that’s … Continue reading

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Plague: From the 14th to the 21st century and still going strong

Plague tomb in Eyam by martsky The Black Death, also known as the Plague, was a devastating pandemic that struck Europe in the 14th century, and killed between a third and two thirds of Europe’s population. Almost simultaneous epidemics occurred … Continue reading

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