The Black Death wiped out nearly half the population of Europe during the 14th Century, a blight that swept through the continent in the gut of fleas. But a new analysis of ancient human DNA shows that the dreaded bacteria emerged at least 3,000 years before the first plague pandemic—a time before it mutated into its…
This flea died 20 million years ago, but the bacteria on its proboscis look familiar. Scientists believe that these bacteria, preserved in amber along with their host, may be a very early version of the Black Death.
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.
The Pasteur Institute of Madagascar confirmed yesterday that a Madagascar village had lost at least twenty people to a deadly outbreak of the bubonic plague. Today, the BBC confirmed with officials that two cases of pneumonic plague – considered deadlier and more virulent than bubonic plague – have also been reported.
The plague that wiped out over a third of Europe's population in the 14th century came from a bacteria known as Yersinia pestis. Now we've sequenced its genome...and it's weirdly, almost worryingly identical to its modern descendants.
We've suspected it for awhile now, and now it's confirmed that the bacterium Yersinia pestis was responsible for the devastating plague that wiped out a third of Europe 650 years ago. But this ultimate killer started as something far different.