Centuries before the Black Death decimated the population of Western Europe, an earlier plague epidemic took out over 50 million people (about 15 percent of the population) in the Byzantine empire. A team of German scientists has confirmed that the two plagues were caused by the same bacterium, albeit genetically…
People don’t die of the Black Plague in the 21st century — except when they do. And the disease won’t be going away any time soon.
Conventional wisdom has it that the Black Death was spread throughout Europe by nasty, evil dirty, disease-carrying rats. Well, prepare to have your mind blown (and find a new pet): according to a new study, gerbils are more likely to blame.
An international team of researchers has discovered that two of the deadliest pandemics in history, the Plague of Justinian and the Black Plague, were caused by strains of the same plague. They warn that mutated — or even bioengineered — versions of the bacteria could lead to future outbreaks.