Plague that wiped out half the world can make comeback

Scientists have found that plagues from the 6th and 14th centuries originated from different strains of the same bacteria.

Plague that wiped out half the world can make comeback

World Bulletin / News Desk

Scientists have made a shocking and worrying discovery after analyzing the bacterial DNA taken from the teeth of two 1,500-year-old skeletons of victims of the Justinian plague, which wiped out half the population of Europe.

After comparing the bacterial DNA to the DNA of the bacteria that caused a similar plague, known as the Black Death, 800 years later, scientists found that both plagues were caused by different strains of the same infectious bacterium Yersinia pestis, which found in black rats.

This means, according to scientists, that since this plague was able to break out a second time despite a gap of almost a century, it may indeed break out again in the future.

Although research suggests that the two plagues developed independently of each other and the strain of the first plague has completely died out, the strain of the second plague is believed to be still active and may have caused another outbreak in China in the mid-1800s, killing up to 12 million people in China and India. 

The first plague in the 6th century is believed to have killed up to 50 million people, which was half of the world’s population at the time, including the Roman Emperor Justinian after which the plague was named. 

Last Mod: 31 Ocak 2014, 16:08
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