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Black Death Bacterium Identified: Genetic Analysis of Medieval Plague Skeletons...
ScienceDaily ^ | Monday, August 29, 2011 | via AlphaGalileo

Posted on 09/03/2011 7:46:55 PM PDT by SunkenCiv

A team of German and Canadian scientists has shown that today's plague pathogen has been around at least 600 years.

The Black Death claimed the lives of one-third of Europeans in just five years from 1348 to 1353. Until recently, it was not certain whether the bacterium Yersinia pestis -- known to cause the plague today -- was responsible for that most deadly outbreak of disease ever. Now, the University of Tübingen's Institute of Scientific Archaeology and McMaster University in Canada have been able to confirm that Yersinia pestis was behind the great plague...

Previous genetic tests indicating that the bacterium was present in medieval samples had previously been dismissed as contaminated by modern DNA or the DNA of bacteria in the soil. Above all, there was doubt because the modern plague pathogen spreads much more slowly and is less deadly than the medieval plague -- even allowing for modern medicine.

The international team of researchers has for the first time been able to decode a circular genome important for explaining the virulence of Y. pestis. It is called pPCP1 plasmid and comprises about 10,000 positions in the bacterium's DNA. The sample was taken from skeletons from a London plague cemetery...

The researchers were also able to show that the plague DNA from the London cemetery was indeed medieval. To do that, they examined damage to the DNA which only occurs in old DNA -- therefore excluding the possibility of modern contamination.

(Excerpt) Read more at sciencedaily.com ...


TOPICS: History; Science; Travel
KEYWORDS: blackdeath; blackplague; bubonicplague; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; helixmakemineadouble; plague; yersiniapestis

full title:
Black Death Bacterium Identified: Genetic Analysis of Medieval Plague Skeletons Shows Presence of Yersinia Pestis Bacteria

1 posted on 09/03/2011 7:47:00 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
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2 posted on 09/03/2011 7:48:51 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (It's never a bad time to FReep this link -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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Yersinia pestis, direct fluorescent antibody stain (DFA), 200x magnification. (Credit: CDC/Courtesy of Larry Stauffer, Oregon State Public Health Laboratory)

CDC/Courtesy of Larry Stauffer, Oregon State Public Health Laboratory

3 posted on 09/03/2011 7:48:56 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (It's never a bad time to FReep this link -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; 2ndDivisionVet; 31R1O; ...

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
This reminds me, I have to pick up some more kleenex.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


4 posted on 09/03/2011 7:49:55 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (It's never a bad time to FReep this link -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: SunkenCiv

Very interesting

5 posted on 09/03/2011 7:50:44 PM PDT by gusopol3
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To: gusopol3

Bookmark


6 posted on 09/03/2011 7:53:25 PM PDT by Publius6961 (My world was lovely, until it was taken over by parasites.)
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To: SunkenCiv

Later


7 posted on 09/03/2011 7:56:13 PM PDT by doc1019 (You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.)
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To: SunkenCiv
Above all, there was doubt because the modern plague pathogen spreads much more slowly and is less deadly than the medieval plague

Why is this a mystery? Besides the obvious sanitation and living condition differences, the folks that lived through had a genetic reason for living through it. Those that died genetically are much less represented today than they were back then.

8 posted on 09/03/2011 7:57:27 PM PDT by Malsua
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To: SunkenCiv

I am still not sure from reading these articles if the plague might of been a very virulent strain or that genetic resistance in the survivors just increased over time.


9 posted on 09/03/2011 7:59:26 PM PDT by dog breath
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To: SunkenCiv

On a related note, did you hear about the plague researcher at the University of Chicago who died from it a couple of years ago?


10 posted on 09/03/2011 8:00:39 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: SunkenCiv

The prairie dogs all around me have it. ;-)


11 posted on 09/03/2011 8:19:41 PM PDT by familyop (cbt. engr. (cbt), Army NG, '89-' 96)
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To: aruanan
Researcher's Death From Plague Prompts Warning

CDC urges lab workers to wear protective gear after 2009 fatality at Illinois university

12 posted on 09/03/2011 8:20:54 PM PDT by blam
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To: SunkenCiv

In November and early December 1970, I spent 24 days in a military hospital in Vietnam after contracting bubonic plague from a batch of defective vaccine. When I was released I weighed 65 pounds less that the day I entered. Plague is a very painful hemoghagic disease. It took 10 days for the doctors to identify what I had. None had ever seen a case before.


13 posted on 09/03/2011 8:23:57 PM PDT by BuffaloJack (2012 is the opportunity to get rid of Obama and his Empire of Lies.)
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To: BuffaloJack

Wow. Just wow.

You need to write up that story.


14 posted on 09/03/2011 8:25:02 PM PDT by combat_boots (The Lion of Judah cometh. Hallelujah. Gloria Patri, Filio et Spiritui Sancto.)
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To: BuffaloJack

Lost 65 lbs.? How much did you weigh initially?


15 posted on 09/03/2011 8:28:41 PM PDT by OldPossum
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To: BuffaloJack

Thank God they finally figured out what it was!


16 posted on 09/03/2011 8:30:20 PM PDT by Lil Flower (American by birth. Southern by the Grace of God! ROLL TIDE!!)
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To: SunkenCiv
Some historians believe the Black Death was the first major event that led to modern Western civilization, because it greatly increased the value of workers who were able to relocate, demand better conditions, and demand better compensation.

Personally, I believe the first event was the rediscovery of the Justinian Code.

17 posted on 09/03/2011 8:39:29 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: SunkenCiv

18 posted on 09/03/2011 8:42:41 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: SunkenCiv

Very interesting........


19 posted on 09/03/2011 8:55:40 PM PDT by The_Media_never_lie
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To: SunkenCiv

Funny - I thought T.F. (terminal flatulence)was the cause of all those deaths ;o)


20 posted on 09/03/2011 9:19:27 PM PDT by QBFimi (When gunpowder speaks, beasts listen.)
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To: dog breath

A certain percentage of Europeans are immune to it due to the Delta-32 mutation.

It also confers immunity to aids if the person has both copies, one from each parent.

If a person has only one copy, he is resistant to it, but not entirely immune.


21 posted on 09/03/2011 9:23:17 PM PDT by djf (One of the few FReepers who NEVER clicked the "dead weasel" thread!! But may not last much longer...)
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To: Malsua

Agreed. I’m not a scientist but I’m surprised that things like hygiene and exposure to many conditions unknown to most people today are not being considered. The diets back then were inferior in quality to today’s, leading to a less than stellar immune system to begin with. Couple that with constant exposure to feces, fleas, and every other contagion out there.... it’s probably a wonder more did not die! This disease was carried by a specific flea — feeding on specific rats...Given the lack of hygiene and regular exposure to rats and fleas for most people...not really a mystery that the disease, once contracted, would spread as rapidly as it did.


22 posted on 09/03/2011 9:28:55 PM PDT by JLLH
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To: SunkenCiv
Wow this kinda scary. Hope some whack job doesn't try to recreate this thing and spread it. Plus there is the mutation factor. Some how the new medical counter measures and the global health surveillance system just does not really reassure me on how fast this thing can spread and how fast it can kill once lose.
23 posted on 09/03/2011 9:34:42 PM PDT by Captain Beyond (The Hammer of the gods! (Just a cool line from a Led Zep song))
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To: reaganaut

Thanatology ping!


24 posted on 09/03/2011 9:35:40 PM PDT by mrreaganaut (Omnia dicta fortiora si dicta Latina.)
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To: mrreaganaut

Awww, thank you. How romantic (seriously).


25 posted on 09/03/2011 9:40:25 PM PDT by reaganaut (Ex-Mormon, now Christian - "I once was lost, but now am found; was blind but now I see")
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To: SunkenCiv


26 posted on 09/03/2011 9:49:32 PM PDT by bgill (just getting tagline ready for 6 months after you vote in Perry - Tried to warn you he's a RINO.)
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To: BuffaloJack
contracting bubonic plague from a batch of defective vaccine.

Say what??? Can you explain this?

27 posted on 09/03/2011 10:55:49 PM PDT by Bellflower (The LORD Jesus Christ is the antidote, the one and only antidote.)
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To: QBFimi
Funny - I thought T.F. (terminal flatulence)was the cause of all those deaths ;o)

"T.F. - it's nothing to sniff at."

28 posted on 09/03/2011 10:59:16 PM PDT by Interesting Times (WinterSoldier.com. SwiftVets.com. ToSetTheRecordStraight.com.)
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To: familyop

In the 4 corners area of the south west it is rampant. It surfaces periodically killing off some Navahos and other tribes. It does indeed reside in the Prairie dogs of the area, but goes dormant for years and then breaks out again. Fortunately for the tribes in that area the doctors are familiar with it and the symptoms and most of the time they can get to the patient in time and if so then the cure is swift and easy. However, the longer a person waits to be treated the harder it is to cure.


29 posted on 09/04/2011 1:00:12 AM PDT by calex59
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To: calex59

Thanks. I’ll be watchful. It’s been at higher elevations for a long time, too, but we take some precautions. ...not many fleas, if any, up here but probably other possible ways of transmission.


30 posted on 09/04/2011 1:26:01 AM PDT by familyop (cbt. engr. (cbt), Army NG, '89-' 96)
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To: OldPossum

> Lost 65 lbs.? How much did you weigh initially?

I went from 180# to 115# in 24 days.


31 posted on 09/04/2011 5:09:45 AM PDT by BuffaloJack (2012 is the opportunity to get rid of Obama and his Empire of Lies.)
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To: Bellflower

> contracting bubonic plague from a batch of defective vaccine.
> Say what??? Can you explain this?

Sure. I needed to have my immunizations brought up to date in order to go on R&R.
Plague was one of the shots.
The batch was bad and contained live plague.


32 posted on 09/04/2011 5:21:20 AM PDT by BuffaloJack (2012 is the opportunity to get rid of Obama and his Empire of Lies.)
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To: BuffaloJack
I went from 180# to 115# in 24 days.

God bless you, Jack! That alone could have been fatal. You must have a cast-iron constitution. May you have it all your life.

33 posted on 09/04/2011 5:40:57 AM PDT by TheOldLady (FReepmail me to get ON or OFF the ZOT LIGHTNING ping list.)
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To: SunkenCiv

Interesting that the medieval diseases that caused such terror and panic are still extant, but for the most part, we are barely aware of them.

When hundreds of thousands die of plague, one person’s infection is not news. But it is today.


34 posted on 09/04/2011 5:46:36 AM PDT by TheOldLady (FReepmail me to get ON or OFF the ZOT LIGHTNING ping list.)
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To: SunkenCiv

“Plague Skeletons” would be a great name for a rock band.

(apologies to Dave Barry)


35 posted on 09/04/2011 5:50:03 AM PDT by P.O.E. (Pray for America)
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To: blam
The CDC report said he had hemochromatosis, a condition in which too much iron is absorbed into body tissues from foods in the gastrointestinal tract. Because Y. pestis bacteria are naturally iron-deficient, the extra iron in the man may have fed the bacteria and caused them to become virulent, the report said.

From the link you provided. This makes it look as though the CDC reported that hemochromatosis makes one more susceptible to plague because one's body has an excess of iron. In reality, hemochromatosis makes one less susceptible because the iron is sequestered in such a way that macrophages become deficient in iron. It is the iron in macrophages that Y. pestis uses to multiply. So this researcher probably survived longer and without a traditional presentation of the disease because of his hemochromatosis. On the other hand, if the first doctor he visited had seen grossly swollen lymph nodes, perhaps the researcher could have survived with adequate treatment.

I'm betting some newspaper writer saw "hemochromatosis" and "excess iron" and somehow found that iron helps bacterial proliferation and made the wrong leap in this case.

I remember reading many years ago that when you get an infection your body, along with producing a fever, starts sequestering iron in a form that unusable by the invading pathogen in order to starve it of a prime nutrient.

I've picked up DNA samples in the building he worked in many times, though I didn't know him.
36 posted on 09/04/2011 6:28:24 AM PDT by aruanan
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To: aruanan
Interesting.

Small world too.

37 posted on 09/04/2011 6:55:09 AM PDT by blam
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