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Plague: A disease which changed the path of human civilization

By Barbara Bramanti, Nils Chr. Stenseth, Lars Walløe and Xu Lei


Plague caused by Yersinia pestis is a zoonotic infection, i.e., it is maintained in wildlife by animal reservoirs and on occasion spills over into human populations, causing outbreaks of different entities. Large epidemics of plague, which have had significant demographic, social, and economic consequences, have been recorded in Western European historical documents since the sixth century. Plague has remained in Europe for over 1400 years, intermittently disappearing, yet it is not clear if there were reservoirs for Y. pestis in Western Europe or if the pathogen was rather reimported on different occasions from Asian reservoirs by human agency. The latter hypothesis thus far seems to be the most plausible one, as it is sustained by both ecological and climatological evidence, helping to interpret the phylogeny of this bacterium

Topics: Civilization, Historic, Outbreak, Pandemics, Yersinia pestis, Medicine (all), Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
Publisher: Springer New York LLC
Year: 2016
DOI identifier: 10.1007/978-94-024-0890-4_1
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