Sean King

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Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Black Death Resulted from Bubonic Plague:
Piles of bones and historical records tell us the Black Death pandemic wiped out as much as half the population of Europe during the Middle Ages. But how and what, exactly, caused the grisly scourge has sparked a boxing match of sorts within the pages of scientific journals.

The final bell has rung, according to a new study, and the bubonic plague — which is caused by a bacterium also known as Yersinia pestis — is the winner. What’s more, the authors say the same bacteria caused smaller outbreaks during the next four centuries throughout Europe.

“Our data … ends the debate about the etiology of the Black Death, and unambiguously demonstrates that Y. pestis was the causative agent of the epidemic plague that devastated Europe during the Middle Ages,” the authors wrote in the Oct. 7 issue of PLoS Pathogens.

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