Document Detail

What caused the Black Death?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15879045     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
For the whole of the 20th century it was believed that the Black Death and all the plagues of Europe (1347-1670) were epidemics of bubonic plague. This review presents evidence that this view is incorrect and that the disease was a viral haemorrhagic fever, characterised by a long incubation period of 32 days, which allowed it to be spread widely even with the limited transport of the Middle Ages. It is suggested that haemorrhagic plague emerged from its animal host in Ethiopia and struck repeatedly at European/Asian civilisations, before appearing as the Black Death. The CCR5-Delta32 mutation confers protection against HIV-1 in an average of 10% of the people of European origin today. It is suggested that all the Deltaccr5 alleles originated from a single mutation event that occurred before 1000 BC and the subsequent epidemics of haemorrhagic plague gently forced up its frequency to 5 x 10(-5) at the time of the Black Death. Epidemics of haemorrhagic plague over the next three centuries then steadily raised the frequency in Europe (but not elsewhere) to present day values.
C J Duncan; S Scott
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Historical Article; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Postgraduate medical journal     Volume:  81     ISSN:  0032-5473     ISO Abbreviation:  Postgrad Med J     Publication Date:  2005 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-05-09     Completed Date:  2005-09-08     Revised Date:  2009-10-22    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0234135     Medline TA:  Postgrad Med J     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  315-20     Citation Subset:  IM    
School of Biological Sciences, University of Liverpool, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Disease Outbreaks / history*
Hemorrhagic Fevers, Viral / history*
History, 15th Century
History, 16th Century
History, 17th Century
History, 18th Century
History, 19th Century
History, Medieval
Mutation / genetics
Plague / genetics,  history*,  transmission
Public Health / history
Receptors, CCR5 / genetics
Yersinia pestis
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Receptors, CCR5

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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