Yersina Pestis is confirmed to have caused the Plague of Justinian

page: 1
5

log in

join

posted on Jun, 25 2013 @ 02:50 PM
link   
New DNA studies have confirmed that the 6th century plague of Justinian was caused by the bacteria yersinia pestis,

Ancient DNA analyses of skeletal remains of plague victims from the 6th century AD provide information about the phylogeny and the place of origin of this pandemic
10.05.2013

From the several pandemics generally called 'pestilences' three are historically recognized as due to plague, but only for the third pandemic of the 19th-21st centuries AD there were microbiological evidences that the causing agent was the bacterium Yersinia pestis. "For a long time scholars from different disciplines have intensively discussed about the actual etiological agents of the past pandemics. Only ancient DNA analyses carried out on skeletal remains of plague victims could finally conclude the debate", said Dr. Barbara Bramanti of the Palaeogenetics Group at the Institute of Anthropology at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). About two years ago, she headed the international team which demonstrated beyond any doubt that Y. pestis also caused the second pandemic of the 14th-17th centuries including the Black Death, the infamous epidemic that ravaged Europe from 1346-1351.
Bramanti and her Mainz colleague Stephanie Hänsch now cooperated with scholars from Arizona in a study led by the University of Munich and the German Bundeswehr to solve the debate as to whether Y. pestis caused the so-called Justinianic Plague of the 6th-8th centuries AD. The results of ancient DNA analyses carried out on the early medieval cemetery of Aschheim in Bavaria were published last week in PloS Pathogens. They confirmed unambiguously that Y. pestis was indeed the causing agent of the first pandemic, in contrast to what has been postulated by other scientists recently. This revolutionary result is supported by the analysis of the genotype of the ancient strain which provide information about the phylogeny and the place of origin of this plague. As for the second and third pandemic, the original sources of the plague bacillus were in Asia.

"It remains questionable whether at the time of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian only one strain or more were disseminated in Europe, as it was at the time of the Black Death," suggested Bramanti and Hänsch. To further investigate this and other open questions about the modalities and route of transmission of the medieval plagues, Bramanti has recently obtained an ERC Advanced Grant for the project "The medieval plagues: ecology, transmission modalities and routes of the infection" (MedPlag) and will move to the Center for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES) at the University of Oslo in Norway. The CEES, chaired by Nils Chr. Stenseth, has an outstanding and rewarded record of excellence in the research on infectious diseases and in particular on Y. pestis.



It has long been debated what caused this first major plague in Europe, even it's been obvious from the descriptions of the disease from contemporary sources this puts it to rest.

The source
www.uni-mainz.de...
edit on 25-6-2013 by punkinworks10 because: (no reason given)




posted on Jun, 25 2013 @ 03:05 PM
link   
A little about the plague, yersinia pestis was originally native tropical east Africa, where it is much less a problem.
In hot climates the infection affects the vector, fleas, differently. The bacteria lives in the gut of the flea, when the flea feeds, there is not exchange of bacteria to the host, and the flea only feeds once and lays eggs then dies.
In cooler climes , ave. temps less than 80 deg. F., there is a change in the flea. This change is described here,


The Hms system plays an important role in the transmission of Y. pestis back to a mammalian host.[34] While in the insect vector, proteins encoded by Hms genetic loci induce biofilm formation in the proventriculus, a valve connecting the midgut to the esophagus.[35] Aggregation in the biofilm inhibits feeding, as a mass of clotted blood and bacteria forms (referred to as "Bacot's block" [36]). Transmission of Y. pestis occurs during the futile attempts of the flea to feed. Ingested blood is pumped into the esophagus, where it dislodges bacteria lodged in the proventriculus and is regurgitated back into the host circulatory system.


So the biofilm and bloodclot block the gut of the flea, when it attempts to feed, it gets no nutrition, and transmits the bacteria to the new host, then the flea jumps to new host and repeats this process, thus infecting multiple hosts.

The Byzantine empire had just started trading heavily with tropical east African in the early 6th century, but it wasn't till the global cool down of 536-538 that the plague shows up. It spread all through the med and into Britain via Roman shipping. In Britain the effects were pretty serious, the British who traded heavily with Rome were decimatedd by the disease and whole districts were depopulated. On the other hand the angles, saxons and the jute, who did not trade with Romans had plagues, and found large swaths of Britain unpopulated, and just moved in
edit on 25-6-2013 by punkinworks10 because: (no reason given)
edit on 25-6-2013 by punkinworks10 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 25 2013 @ 07:23 PM
link   
The mid sixth century was one marked by events that changed the course of human history.
And many were related in some fashion.
First, there is the eruption of krakatoa in 536, this huge eruption kicked up enough dust and ash to drop global temperatures by several degrees. That summer it snowed in July in Japan and China, the rice crop in Asia failed, leading to unrest all through east Asia. In Europe the plague shows up in 541, and decimates the eastern empire,
Crops fail all through southern and western europe causing much unrest. It was during this time that a monk in Constantinople, while commenting on the events of the day, mentions that during the summer of 536 that the sun was obscured by a thick haze. The haze was so thick he commented "we are truely living in a dark age" thus coining the term dark ages which really has nothinng to do with it's modern connotations.



posted on Jun, 27 2013 @ 02:13 AM
link   

Originally posted by punkinworks10
It has long been debated what caused this first major plague in Europe, even it's been obvious from the descriptions of the disease from contemporary sources this puts it to rest.


Not the first though. Part of the 'crisis of the 3rd century' was a plague afflicting the Roman Empire and beyond, the 'Plague of Cyprian' which may have been smallpox.

en.wikipedia.org...
en.wikipedia.org...

I think maybe they meant 'first major plague' where 'plauge' is a synonym for the black death.



posted on Jun, 27 2013 @ 02:42 AM
link   
reply to post by 11andrew34
 


It is taken as the first instance of bubonic plague in Europe.
There were other "plagues" , such as the one you mention.
In the years immediately prior to the arrival of the "Black Death", in Britain, another malady passed through that killed 1,000,000 people ,1/6 of the population, between 1280 and 1300. By the 1340's the population of Britain dropped from 6,000,000 in 1250, to 2,500,000
There is little written about the earlier pandemic, but it is thought to be influenza.



posted on Jun, 27 2013 @ 03:31 AM
link   
Yeah I found another plague that wasn't 'the plague', the "Antonine plague" of AD 165-180

They say that one got ~5 million people??? I mean wow, that's humongous. But yeah I figured what you were saying about it being the first episode of 'the plague' in Europe.

Actually though, as I look at this a bit, I'm finding it hard to find any mention of an earlier outbreak than this one from the reign of Justinian. It's supposed to have come from China or India, so there really should be a huge huge outbreak recorded in that part of the world from at least somewhat before the time of Justinian, right?



posted on Jun, 27 2013 @ 05:05 AM
link   
reply to post by 11andrew34
 


The outbreak in the 14th century came from China, but the 6th century pandemic originated in Africa, and was brought to the empire by boat. It killed something like 25,000 people a month in Constantinople, and eventually 1/3 of the population of Europe.





new topics
top topics
 
5

log in

join