New plague pandemic is still conceivable



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Certain types of the plague pathogen "Yersinia pestis" spread worldwide
28.01.2014

American researchers have developed a pedigree for the "Yersinia pestis" plague, and discovered that the bacterium appears to be spread all over the world. According to the researchers, a renewed spread across countries and continents is possible at any time - even if special medications for the disease reduce the risk of a pandemic.

Researchers develop family tree for bacteria Researchers at the American Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff have created a family tree for the bacterium "Yersinia pestis", which triggers the highly contagious infectious disease "pest" (Latin pestis "plague"). According to this, some strains of the pathogen may no longer exist, but others have now spread all over the world. As the researchers currently report in the journal “The Lancet Infectious Diseases”, a new pandemic could in principle break out at any time - however, the risk today due to the pharmaceutical development of antidotes is much lower than before,

"Justinian Plague" and "Black Death" claim millions of lives
In their investigations, the team led by David Wagner put three major pandemic pandemics at the center of attention: the so-called "Justinian plague" (after the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I), which spread throughout the late antique Mediterranean region in the course of the 6th century and claimed about 30 to 50 million victims. Secondly, the scientists concentrated on the so-called "black death" (1347 to 1351), which cost the lives of around 25 million people across Europe, and on the third plague epidemic, which began in China at the end of the 19th century and was around the world 12 million lives lost.

US researchers sequence earliest pest pathogen from teeth In their work, the researchers deciphered the genome of the earliest pest pathogen from the teeth of two victims, who had probably died around 540, compared it with 131 types of later plague pathogens and created a family tree from the results . As a result, the scientists were able to derive important information about the pathogen "Yersinia pestis". According to this, the early tribe of the people who died around 540 was probably extinct, whereas the later variant was distributed in Asia, Africa and Europe and was closely linked to the type of pathogen that triggered the third pandemic in the 19th century.

Rodents could trigger new pandemics all over the world. As the researchers went on to say, it could be assumed that the infectious disease originally spread from rodents to humans and can still occur again and again: "We conclude that the Yersinia pestis lines who caused the Justinian plague and the Black Death 800 years later were independent emergences that have passed from rodents to humans. These results show that rodent species are important reservoirs worldwide for the repeated occurrence of diverse lines of Y pestis in human populations, ”the researchers said in their article in“ The Lancet ”. (No)

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