Friday, December 23, 2005

Black Death Was Probably Not Bubonic Plague


Historically, epidemics of bubonic plague have been associated with enormous die-offs of rats.

“There are no reports of dead rats in the streets in the 1300s of the sort common in more recent epidemics when we know bubonic plague was the causative agent,” says Wood.

Instead of being spread by animals and insect vectors, the researchers believe that the Black Death was transmitted through person-to-person contact, as are measles and smallpox.

The geographic pattern of the disease seems to bear this out, since the disease spread rapidly along roadways and navigable rivers and was not slowed down by the kinds of geographical barrier that would restrict the movement of rodents.

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