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Plague decoded: Researchers link 2 of the most devastating pandemics in history
ctvnews.ca ^ | January 27, 2014 | Christina Commisso

Posted on 01/27/2014 5:08:06 PM PST by John W

An international team of scientists has discovered that two of the most devastating pandemics in human history -- responsible for killing as much as half the population in Europe at the time -- were caused by strains of the same bacterium.

The researchers announced Monday that the Plague of Justinian and the Black Death were caused by distinct strains of the same pathogen, and warned that similar pandemics can strike again.

The Plague of Justinian struck in the 6th century and is estimated to have killed between 30 and 50 million people -- virtually half the world’s population as it spread across Asia, North Africa, parts of the Middle East and Europe.

The Black Death struck about 800 years later, killing an estimated 50 million Europeans between just 1347 and 1351 alone.

Researchers were able to isolate miniscule DNA fragments from the 1500-year-old teeth of two victims of the Plague of Justinian who were buried in Bavaria, Germany. They then reconstructed the genome of the oldest Yersinia pestis, the bacterium responsible for these plagues, and compared it to a database of genomes of more than a hundred contemporary strains.

The bacterium Yersinia pestis has jumped from rodents to humans throughout history, and Poinar said rodent reservoirs of plague still exist today in parts of Asia and Ukraine.

"What (the study) does seem to suggest is that obviously Yersinia pestis has this tremendous capability of emerging and re-emerging from these centres with these rodents," said Hendrik Poinar, director of the McMaster Ancient DNA Centre.

(Excerpt) Read more at ctvnews.ca ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: blackdeath; dsj02; pandemic; pestilence; plague; plagueofjustinian
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1 posted on 01/27/2014 5:08:06 PM PST by John W
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To: John W

Hmmmm 800 year gap and the last time was roughly 800 years ago...


2 posted on 01/27/2014 5:09:41 PM PST by null and void (We need to shake this snowglobe up.)
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To: John W; neverdem; ProtectOurFreedom; Mother Abigail; EBH; vetvetdoug; Smokin' Joe; Global2010; ...
Bring Out Your Dead

Post to me or FReep mail to be on/off the Bring Out Your Dead ping list.

The purpose of the “Bring Out Your Dead” ping list (formerly the “Ebola” ping list) is very early warning of emerging pandemics, as such it has a high false positive rate.

So far the false positive rate is 100%.

At some point we may well have a high mortality pandemic, and likely as not the “Bring Out Your Dead” threads will miss the beginning entirely.

*sigh* Such is life, and death...

3 posted on 01/27/2014 5:11:06 PM PST by null and void (We need to shake this snowglobe up.)
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To: John W

This is so scary that you can’t even be afraid of it.

If it happens it happens and I would expect Guam to blow up its airport to keep the pathogen off the island


4 posted on 01/27/2014 5:11:12 PM PST by Fai Mao (Genius at Large)
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To: null and void
Hmmmm 800 year gap and the last time was roughly 800 years ago...

I hear the plague is quite susceptible to modern antibiotics--unless biowarfare people have fooled around with it. They wouldn't do that, would they?

5 posted on 01/27/2014 5:12:38 PM PST by Pearls Before Swine
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To: null and void

We’re living on borrowed time, it seems.


6 posted on 01/27/2014 5:12:38 PM PST by ClearCase_guy (Anti-Complacency League! Baby!)
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To: John W
"The Plague of Justinian struck in the 6th century"

Close in time to the plague of Islam.

7 posted on 01/27/2014 5:13:18 PM PST by Paladin2
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To: John W

China has been plaguing us for centuries...


8 posted on 01/27/2014 5:14:34 PM PST by NativeSon ( Grease the floor with Crisco when I dance the Disco)
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To: John W

Well ‘RATS’!


9 posted on 01/27/2014 5:14:49 PM PST by Kartographer ("We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.")
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To: Pearls Before Swine

Absolutely.


10 posted on 01/27/2014 5:14:54 PM PST by MrEdd (Heck? Geewhiz Cripes, thats the place where people who don't believe in Gosh think they aint going.)
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To: null and void
Bring out your dead!
11 posted on 01/27/2014 5:14:55 PM PST by lightman (O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance, giving to Thy Church vict'ry o'er Her enemies.)
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To: John W
I know we are all going to die, but for sanity's sake, KILL the fleas.

Sheesh.

5.56mm

12 posted on 01/27/2014 5:15:51 PM PST by M Kehoe
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To: null and void

From what I remember reading years ago, the real problem with plague, aside from fleas, was the black rat (Rattus rattus) which nowadays has been largely displaced by the brown rat (Rattus norvegicus).

It’s been so long, but I believe it had something to do with the black rat’s nesting behavior in human habitations. Simply put, the black rat is more an indoors sort of critter, while the brown rat is more outdoorsy. Needless to say, black rats, indoors, with plague-carrying fleas, is a recipe for disaster.


13 posted on 01/27/2014 5:16:14 PM PST by AnAmericanAbroad (It's all bread and circuses for the future prey of the Morlocks.)
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To: Pearls Before Swine

Nahhhh, never...


14 posted on 01/27/2014 5:16:31 PM PST by null and void (We need to shake this snowglobe up.)
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To: ClearCase_guy

No, I think natural disasters are the way populations are supposed to be controlled, and not with death panels or global control freaks. That way people aren’t singled out for political or religious beliefs, and people aren’t making the decision of who lives and who dies.
Anyway, being ready to go is always wise.


15 posted on 01/27/2014 5:16:40 PM PST by Kackikat
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To: ClearCase_guy

Yeah, ever...


16 posted on 01/27/2014 5:16:56 PM PST by null and void (We need to shake this snowglobe up.)
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To: John W

It’s treatable now with antibiotics, though there have been some resistant strands.

We’re much more effective at both treating, and identifying the source. But I do think we have forgotten how to quarantine or lost the will to. We didn’t do so good with SARS.


17 posted on 01/27/2014 5:18:11 PM PST by DannyTN (A>)
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To: John W

It’s treatable now with antibiotics, though there have been some resistant strands.

We’re much more effective at both treating, and identifying the source. But I do think we have forgotten how to quarantine or lost the will to. We didn’t do so good with SARS.


18 posted on 01/27/2014 5:18:12 PM PST by DannyTN (A>)
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To: M Kehoe

and dont let the bedbugs bite


19 posted on 01/27/2014 5:18:18 PM PST by bigheadfred
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To: John W

So, about 130 million died of the plague in the history of mankind.

How many died because of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Islam in that same time span?


20 posted on 01/27/2014 5:19:14 PM PST by 353FMG
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To: John W
The bacterium Yersinia pestis has jumped from rodents to humans throughout history, and Poinar said rodent reservoirs of plague still exist today in parts of Asia and Ukraine.

There are rodent reservoirs in the American West as well.

21 posted on 01/27/2014 5:20:58 PM PST by Valpal1 (If the police can t solve a problem with violence, they ll find a way to fix it with brute force)
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To: Paladin2
Very much related, you know. The plague devastated the Byzantine Empire, and when the Arabs got a fancy new religion, they started expanding and the weakened Byzantines could not stop them effectively. Islam became large and self-sustaining because of this.

Urban civilization does poorly in a time of plague. Nomads living in the desert get off comparatively lightly.

22 posted on 01/27/2014 5:21:00 PM PST by ClearCase_guy (Anti-Complacency League! Baby!)
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To: John W

The plague has sickened and even killed people on the Navaho Reservation and Eastern Oregon off the top of my head.


23 posted on 01/27/2014 5:21:09 PM PST by JimSEA
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To: Pearls Before Swine

Reminds me of Gilbert & Sullivan:

Captain.
......
At the fury of a gale,
And I’m never, never sick at sea!

Chorus.
What, never?

Captain.
No, never!

Chorus.
What, never?

Captain.
Hardly ever!


24 posted on 01/27/2014 5:22:20 PM PST by P.O.E. (Pray for America)
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To: ClearCase_guy
It just suddenly struck me that here is a possible explanation of the breakout.

I'm sure many have studied this in detail.

25 posted on 01/27/2014 5:26:09 PM PST by Paladin2
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To: Valpal1; JimSEA
Natural reservoirs seem to be prairie dogs and the like. In our SW that is the case. In Asia, the marmots that live on the steppes are a reservoir. Historically, when populations love across the steppes they risk entering a plague reservoir and then carrying the fleas to a new destination. In an urban environment, of course, the brown rat is a common way for the disease to spread to humans, but this is not considered a natural reservoir. It's a temporary vector.

Grasslands and deserts are where plague can live for centuries, biding its time.

26 posted on 01/27/2014 5:26:18 PM PST by ClearCase_guy (Anti-Complacency League! Baby!)
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To: Valpal1; null and void
There are rodent reservoirs in the American West as well.

ah ya but the 'rat infestation is endemic everwhere so what is the new plague i can only guess but only my death panel knows fer sure

27 posted on 01/27/2014 5:28:02 PM PST by bigheadfred
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To: John W
It's them furruners I tell ya! Them furruners!


28 posted on 01/27/2014 5:28:07 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Sometimes you need 7+ more ammo. LOTS MORE.)
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To: John W

I think Athens lost the Peloponnesian war because of the plague. Thucydides had the plague and described it in detail. It does not fit any known disease.

I think archaeologists studied some of the bodies buried 2500 years ago and scientists decided it was typhoid but I think they are wrong.

There was also a world wide flu pandemic in 1918 which killed millions.


29 posted on 01/27/2014 5:28:27 PM PST by yarddog (Romans 8: verses 38 and 39. "For I am persuaded".)
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To: lightman
Bring out your dead!

I saw a movie (possibly a Mel Brooks comedy movie) where the guy was pushing a cart of dead people, saying exactly that, when one of the guys laying on the cart said, but I am not dead yet. The guy pushing the cart looked around to make sure no body was watching, then rapped him upside the head till he WAS dead. In the context of the comedy movie, it was pretty funny, though I would not want it to happen for real.

30 posted on 01/27/2014 5:31:38 PM PST by Mark17 (Chicago Blackhawks: Stanley Cup champions 2010, 2013. Vietnam Vet 70-71 Msgt US Air Force, retired)
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To: bigheadfred; Valpal1; JimSEA; ClearCase_guy
Y'all DO know the back story on how The Plague became endemic to America, doncha?
31 posted on 01/27/2014 5:31:56 PM PST by null and void (We need to shake this snowglobe up.)
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To: Fai Mao

Guam has taken all of the planes off of the island. The weight of the planes was causing it to tip over.


32 posted on 01/27/2014 5:32:24 PM PST by certrtwngnut (')
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To: AnAmericanAbroad
From what I remember reading years ago, the real problem with plague, aside from fleas, was the black rat (Rattus rattus) which nowadays has been largely displaced by the brown rat (Rattus norvegicus).

The California tree rat, which loves to inhabit the mats of dead fronds on the trunks of Washington palm trees, so commonplace in California is, from what I understand, the same species (rattus rattus) as the plague rat. The brown rat (rattus norvegucus) is also known as the New York City sewer rat.

33 posted on 01/27/2014 5:33:54 PM PST by Fiji Hill
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To: lightman
Bring out your dead!

I saw a movie (possibly a Mel Brooks comedy movie) where the guy was pushing a cart of dead people, saying exactly that, when one of the guys laying on the cart said, but I am not dead yet. The guy pushing the cart looked around to make sure no body was watching, then rapped him upside the head till he WAS dead. In the context of the comedy movie, it was pretty funny, though I would not want it to happen for real.

34 posted on 01/27/2014 5:34:49 PM PST by Mark17 (Chicago Blackhawks: Stanley Cup champions 2010, 2013. Vietnam Vet 70-71 Msgt US Air Force, retired)
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To: Mark17

That scene is the reference for the comment.


35 posted on 01/27/2014 5:35:29 PM PST by lepton ("It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into"--Jonathan Swift)
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To: 353FMG

Plagues apparently killed a much higher percentage of the Earth than Communism or Nazism.


36 posted on 01/27/2014 5:37:13 PM PST by PghBaldy (12/14 - 930am -rampage begins... 12/15 - 1030am - Obama's advance team scouts photo-op locations.)
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To: Pearls Before Swine
I hear the plague is quite susceptible to modern antibiotics--unless biowarfare people have fooled around with it. They wouldn't do that, would they?

I don't even think they can do something like that.

Uh oh.

Researchers were able to isolate miniscule DNA fragments from the 1500-year-old teeth of two victims of the Plague of Justinian who were buried in Bavaria, Germany. They then reconstructed the genome of the oldest Yersinia pestis, the bacterium responsible for these plagues, and compared it to a database of genomes of more than a hundred contemporary strains.

37 posted on 01/27/2014 5:37:14 PM PST by eartrumpet
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To: ClearCase_guy
The plague devastated the Byzantine Empire, and when the Arabs got a fancy new religion, they started expanding and the weakened Byzantines could not stop them effectively. Islam became large and self-sustaining because of this.

Another problem was that the Romans and the Persians had been at war with each other and had punched themselves out by the time the Arab Muslims were on the move.

38 posted on 01/27/2014 5:37:26 PM PST by Fiji Hill
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To: Mark17

Oops


39 posted on 01/27/2014 5:37:31 PM PST by Mark17 (Chicago Blackhawks: Stanley Cup champions 2010, 2013. Vietnam Vet 70-71 Msgt US Air Force, retired)
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To: null and void

I believe Chinese labor imported to build railroads is usually cited.


40 posted on 01/27/2014 5:37:35 PM PST by ClearCase_guy (Anti-Complacency League! Baby!)
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To: null and void

I thought they changed the genus from Yersinia to Pasturella. Antibiotics have worked, but if it ever becomes a superbug it could be a nightmare.


41 posted on 01/27/2014 5:40:02 PM PST by virgil
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To: ClearCase_guy; JimSEA

I think the last case here in Oregon was a guy trying to rescue a rodent (chipmunk or squirrel?) from a feral cat.

I don’t consider plague to be a serious danger anymore because most people change and wash their bedding on a regular basis nowadays and there are plenty of effective flea and rodent control products on the markets.

We can always break out the DDT to stop the flea vector if another pandemic occurs.


42 posted on 01/27/2014 5:40:32 PM PST by Valpal1 (If the police can t solve a problem with violence, they ll find a way to fix it with brute force)
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To: Mark17

It’s a Monty Python routine.


43 posted on 01/27/2014 5:40:57 PM PST by null and void (We need to shake this snowglobe up.)
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To: Fiji Hill
the Romans and the Persians

Absolutely true, and again, related to the plague. The Iranian people are considered steppe people, although we might tend to picture them as desert-dwelling arab-types. They are quite different. The Sassanid Persians were fighting the Byzantines to a bit of a standstill (that was always the case) and at about that time, plague came in off the steppes and devastated the urban centers.

The Arabs came out of the desert full of Islam, and the Persians were in no shape to stop them, and the Byzantines were in no shape to stop them. The die was cast.

44 posted on 01/27/2014 5:41:49 PM PST by ClearCase_guy (Anti-Complacency League! Baby!)
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To: ClearCase_guy

That’s the benign half of the story.


45 posted on 01/27/2014 5:42:02 PM PST by null and void (We need to shake this snowglobe up.)
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To: ClearCase_guy; null and void; Valpal1

Anyone out there remember the rabbit drives here in SE Idaho back in the early 1980’s? The libs were screaming bloody murder. National news. And it WAS bloody murder and yes I HELPED, but the territory covered by those drives was insignificant to area(s) infested. The jack rabbits in a huge amount of territory died off naturally probably through Tularemia. Rabbit plague. In the last 3 years we are seeing their return. And that is 30 YEARS LATER PEOPLE.

What is more significant to me is this last round of flu I am just recovering from. I had every flu symptom described ALL AT ONCE. And it don’t feel like it has quite let go 2 weeks later. The good news is I seem to be getting better. Just in time for the funeral of along time friend (63) that died last Thursday-—of the flu.


46 posted on 01/27/2014 5:42:39 PM PST by bigheadfred
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To: null and void

Is 40 the correct answer?


47 posted on 01/27/2014 5:42:51 PM PST by Hieronymus ( (It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. --G.K. Chesterton))
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To: Hieronymus

42.


48 posted on 01/27/2014 5:44:22 PM PST by null and void (We need to shake this snowglobe up.)
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To: null and void

What is the other half?


49 posted on 01/27/2014 5:44:28 PM PST by Hieronymus ( (It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. --G.K. Chesterton))
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To: null and void; Valpal1; JimSEA; ClearCase_guy
Y'all DO know the back story

cheap chinese blankets imported from mexico

50 posted on 01/27/2014 5:44:38 PM PST by bigheadfred
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