New research leveraging DNA has identified the origins of the Black Death or Plague that killed half or more of all humans in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa in the mid to late 1300s.(1)

The Plague was introduced to the Mediterranean region in 1347 from ships from Eastern trading centers. Researchers identified tombstones from 1337 and 1337 in Kyrgyzstan whose inscriptions mentioned a mysterious illness. DNA examination of the remains of the dead found traces of the bacteria, Yersinia pestis, which is the bacteria responsible for the plague.

The Plague is very much still around. This bacteria is carried by rodents and transmitted to humans when bitten. Because it’s a bacteria and not a virus, there are medications readily available now for treatment. However, if ignored, the bacteria can still cause critical illness and death. For that reason, it has found its way into chemical warfare arsenals.(3,4)


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