On the Trail of Black Death - Was it a Virus??

  1. a third of europe's population died over four years due to the black death. but was it really spread by rats and fleas? could it have been caused by a virus? and what has that got to do with the modern-day spread of hiv? peter lavelle delves into the dark history of the great pestilences to look for answers.


    i have just added the link as the full text is too long but it is fascinating reading with a lot of modern day lessons.

    http://www.abc.net.au/science/featur...th/default.htm
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   dianah
    Gwenith, it IS fascinating! A year or two ago I read of scientists who were extracting tissue from a mass burial in some permafrost, from victims of the early 1900s flu epidemic. They went to great lengths to isolate the specimens, so as not to infect the crew or potentially release the causative agent into circulation again. They were going to study the agent, in hopes of preventing another deadly flu epidemic. I haven't heard anything since about this. Hmmm, maybe I should do a search . . .
    Thanks again for the link, I am very interested in such articles! -- D
  4. by   P_RN
    That is fascinating. My daughter and I were just discussing the dark ages/plague etc yesterday. I'm also reading a book about the ice age and the mini ice age in the 1800s. I love knowing stuff like this.
  5. by   Roland
    Personally I believe that in order to have the kind of virulence and penetration that the Black Death exhibited, it MUST have been a virus.
  6. by   kay
    Quote from dianah
    Gwenith, it IS fascinating! A year or two ago I read of scientists who were extracting tissue from a mass burial in some permafrost, from victims of the early 1900s flu epidemic. They went to great lengths to isolate the specimens, so as not to infect the crew or potentially release the causative agent into circulation again. They were going to study the agent, in hopes of preventing another deadly flu epidemic. I haven't heard anything since about this. Hmmm, maybe I should do a search . . .
    Thanks again for the link, I am very interested in such articles! -- D

    I heard a news report this week that after DNA analysis of tissues extracted from these victims buried in the permafrost, they believe that particular flu virus was the same type of avain flu virus that is currently hitting Asia thus the reason for such a high death toll as we humans have no immunity to this type of virus
  7. by   hagen
    the black plauge was definitly a virus. If you are interested, you should also research the Delta 32 gene. It provided immune supression to a few people which left them unharmed after exposure. The same gene (D32) is also helping peole today with resistance to HIV. Carriers are more prone resistence while a person who is dominant with the d32 trait is acually resistant. I know this sounds like crap, but research it yourself. Maybe genetics will unlock the code to beating this thing!
  8. by   colleen10
    Very interesting, I saw a documentary on TV about this, testing descendents for this gene mutation and resistance to HIV on I think The Learning Channel or Discovery Channel.
  9. by   karenG
    Quote from dianah
    Gwenith, it IS fascinating! A year or two ago I read of scientists who were extracting tissue from a mass burial in some permafrost, from victims of the early 1900s flu epidemic. They went to great lengths to isolate the specimens, so as not to infect the crew or potentially release the causative agent into circulation again. They were going to study the agent, in hopes of preventing another deadly flu epidemic. I haven't heard anything since about this. Hmmm, maybe I should do a search . . .
    Thanks again for the link, I am very interested in such articles! -- D

    if the same one I am thinking of...... they did this in norway?? somewhere like that!! Anyway, my point is that they were unable to isolate any flu virus and are still looking............

    Karen

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