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The Black Death - Scientific Evidence of Plague

Coughing was another way which spread the plague.  Although most scientists believe that the Black Death of the Middle Ages was bubonic plague, not everyone agrees.  The spread of the disease was so fast that it puzzles experts.  Perhaps, they argue, there was another cause?

A team of French archeologists have examined the teeth of plague victims (two adults and one child), found in Montpellier, to determine whether there might be another reason for the scourge. 

Scientists did, indeed, find evidence of Yersinia pestis (the bacterium which causes Bubonic plague) in the remains of those who were buried in the mass grave. They also found "one mutation in the amplified pla [plasminogen activator] gene fragment, the significance of which remains to be studied."  (See, also, a reference to the "retrospective diagnosis of plague" at page 9 of Plague: A Very Short Introduction, by Paul Stack.)

See, also:

The Black Death - What Was It?

The Black Death - Where Did It Originate?

The Black Death - Biological Warfare

The Black Death - Arrives in Western Europe

The Black Death - Cause and Types

The Black Death - Saving Lives by Fleeing Town


Media Credits

Clip from "The Plague," produced by the History Channel.  Released by A&E Home Video in 2006.  Total run time:  100 minutes.  Clip online, courtesy the History Channel.

 

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