About Careers Internship MedBlog Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Black Death may Have Been Spread by Humans, Not Rats

by Chrisy Ngilneii on January 18, 2018 at 3:35 PM
Black Death may Have Been Spread by Humans, Not Rats

Rats have long been considered the culprit in the pandemic of The Black Death between the years 1346 and 1353, and the second pandemic during 14th to 19th centuries. However, cutting-edge research claims we could be wrong.

While it is commonly assumed that rats and their fleas spread plague during the Second Pandemic, there is little historical and archaeological support for such a claim.

Advertisement


Using Bayesian inference, a research team found that human ectoparasites, like body lice and human fleas, might be more likely than rats to have caused the rapidly developing epidemics in pre-Industrial Europe. Such an alternative transmission route explains many of the notable epidemiological differences between historical and modern plague epidemics.

Missing links were observed in the spread of the plaque as the commonly accepted mode of transmission does not fit with the historical evidence. One such disconnect is that records from the first outbreak do not mention a large number of rats dying off, like it was observed and recorded in the later outbreak in Europe during the 19th century.
Advertisement

This has led experts to speculate that human parasites played a huge role in the pandemic. And that speculation is that fleas and lice could have fed on infected humans, and then transmitted the disease to other humans.

In the study, mathematical equations were used to create three different models of plague transmission during a series of outbreaks in Europe called the second pandemic, which includes the Black Death and occurred during the 14th through 19th centuries.

One model states that the disease was spread from rats to fleas to people; a second model states that the disease was spread from human fleas and body lice to other people; and a third model claims that the disease was spread from person to person through the air, which occurs only when people develop a form of plague known as pneumonic plague.

Historical data on plaque deaths in nine regions during the second pandemic point to human parasite model which may best reflect the death rates in seven of the nine regions, compared with the other two models.

"Overall, our results suggest that plague transmission in European epidemics occurred predominantly through human [parasites], rather than commensal rat or pneumonic transmission," the research team reported in their paper.

The complete research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source: Medindia
Font : A-A+

Advertisement

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended Readings

Latest Research News

Unlocking the Gut Microbiome's Influence on Bone Density
Scientists aim to pinpoint particular functional pathways affected by these bacteria that may have an impact on skeletal health.
Hop-Derived Compound Reduces Gut Microbe Linked to Metabolic Syndrome
Consuming a diet rich in saturated fats triggers persistent, low-level inflammation within the body, ultimately contributing to the onset of metabolic syndrome.
Breakthrough in Mosquitoes for Fighting Dengue Fever
Ae. aegypti mosquitoes are carriers of "arthropod-borne" or "arbo-" viruses, which encompass the dengue virus, yellow fever virus, Zika virus, and chikungunya virus.
Cerebrospinal Fluid Leaks: Link to Traumatic Brain Injury and Dementia?
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks are detected in approximately 1-3% of adults who have experienced a traumatic brain injury.
Astrocyte Activation Through Optogenetics: A New Hope in the Fight Against Alzheimer's
The optogenetic activation of hippocampal astrocytes can be viewed as a novel therapeutic avenue for addressing Alzheimer's disease.
View All
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close
MediBotMediBot
Greetings! How can I assist you?MediBot
×

Black Death may Have Been Spread by Humans, Not Rats Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests