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Black Death Plague
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 27-02-2006 17:26    Post subject: Black Death Plague Reply with quote

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Europe's chill linked to disease
By Kate Ravilious



Europe's "Little Ice Age" may have been triggered by the 14th Century Black Death plague, according to a new study. Pollen and leaf data support the idea that millions of trees sprang up on abandoned farmland, soaking up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This would have had the effect of cooling the climate, a team from Utrecht University, Netherlands, says. The Little Ice Age was a period of some 300 years when Europe experienced a dip in average temperatures.

Dr Thomas van Hoof and his colleagues studied pollen grains and leaf remains collected from lake-bed sediments in the southeast Netherlands. Monitoring the ups and downs in abundance of cereal pollen (like buckwheat) and tree pollen (like birch and oak) enabled them to estimate changes in land-use between AD 1000 and 1500.

Pore clues

The team found an increase in cereal pollen from 1200 onwards (reflecting agricultural expansion), followed by a sudden dive around 1347, linked to the agricultural crisis caused by the arrival of the Black Death, most probably a bacterial disease spread by rat fleas.

This bubonic plague is said to have wiped out over a third of Europe's population.

Counting stomata (pores) on ancient oak leaves provided van Hoof's team with a measure of the fluctuations in atmospheric carbon dioxide for the same period.

This is because leaves absorb carbon dioxide through their stomata, and their density varies as carbon dioxide goes up and down.

"Between AD 1200 to 1300, we see a decrease in stomata and a sharp rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide, due to deforestation we think," says Dr van Hoof, whose findings are published in the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

But after AD 1350, the team found the pattern reversed, suggesting that atmospheric carbon dioxide fell, perhaps due to reforestation following the plague.

The researchers think that this drop in carbon dioxide levels could help to explain a cooling in the climate over the following centuries.

Ocean damper

From around 1500, Europe appears to have been gripped by a chill lasting some 300 years.

There are many theories as to what caused these bitter years, but popular ideas include a decrease in solar activity, an increase in volcanic activity or a change in ocean circulation.

The new data adds weight to the theory that the Black Death could have played a pivotal role.

Not everyone is convinced, however. Dr Tim Lenton, an environmental scientist from the University of East Anglia, UK, said: "It is a nice study and the carbon dioxide changes could certainly be a contributory factor, but I think they are too modest to explain all the climate change seen."

And Professor Richard Houghton, a climate expert from Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, US, believes that the oceans would have compensated for the change.

"The atmosphere is in equilibrium with the ocean and this tends to dampen or offset small changes in terrestrial carbon uptake," he explained.

Nonetheless, the new findings are likely to cause a stir.

"It appears that the human impact on the environment started much earlier than the industrial revolution," said Dr van Hoof.


Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/4755328.stm

Published: 2006/02/27 13:48:08 GMT

© BBC MMVI


Edit to amend title.
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 17-10-2010 18:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Cause of the big plague epidemic of Middle Ages identified
http://www.physorg.com/news206009200.html
October 11th, 2010 in Medicine & Health / Diseases


Geographical position of the five archaeological sites investigated. Green dots indicate the sites. Also indicated are two likely independent infection routes (black and red dotted arrows) for the spread of the Black Death (1347-1353) after Benedictow. ©: PLoS Pathogens

(PhysOrg.com) -- The 'Black Death' was caused by at least two previously unknown types of Yersinia pestis bacteria.

The latest tests conducted by anthropologists at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) have proven that the bacteria Yersinia pestis was indeed the causative agent behind the "Black Death" that raged across Europe in the Middle Ages. The cause of the epidemic has always remained highly controversial and other pathogens were often named as possible causes, in particular for the northern European regions. Using DNA and protein analyses from skeletons of plague victims, an international team led by the scientists from Mainz has now conclusively shown that Yersinia pestis was responsible for the Black Death in the 14th century and the subsequent epidemics that continued to erupt throughout the European continent for the next 400 years. The tests conducted on genetic material from mass graves in five countries also identified at least two previously unknown types of Yersinia pestis that occurred as pathogens.

"Our findings indicate that the plague traveled to Europe over at least two channels, which then went their own individual ways," explains Dr. Barbara Bramanti from the Institute of Anthropology of Mainz University. The works, published in the open access journal PLoS Pathogens, now provide the necessary basis for conducting a detailed historical reconstruction of how this illness spread.

For a number of years, Barbara Bramanti has been researching major epidemics that were rampant throughout Europe and their possible selective consequences as part of a project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). For the recently published work, 76 human skeletons were examined from suspected mass graves for plague victims in England, France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. While other infections such as leprosy can be easily identified long after death by the deformed bones, the problem faced in the search for plague victims lies in the fact that the illness can lead to death within just a few days and leaves no visible traces. With luck, DNA of the pathogen may still be present for many years in the dental pulp or traces of proteins in the bones. Even then it is difficult to detect, and may be distorted through possible contamination. The team led by Bramanti found their results by analyzing old genetic material, also known as ancient DNA (aDNA): Ten specimens from France, England, and the Netherlands showed a Yersinia pestis-specific gene. Because the samples from Parma, Italy and Augsburg, Germany gave no results, they were subjected to another method known as immunochromatography (similar to the method used in home pregnancy tests for example), this time with success.

Once the infection with Yersinia pestis had been conclusively proven, Stephanie Hänsch and Barbara Bramanti used an analysis of around 20 markers to test if one of the known bacteria types "orientalis" or "medievalis" was present. But neither of these two types was found. Instead, two unknown forms were identified, which are older and differ from the modern pathogens found in Africa, America, the Middle East, and the former Soviet Union regions. One of these two types, which are thought to have contributed significantly to the catastrophic course of the plague in the 14th century, most probably no longer exists today. The other appears to have similarities with types that were recently isolated in Asia.

In their reconstruction, Hänsch and Bramanti show an infection path that runs from the initial transportation of the pathogen from Asia to Marseille in November 1347, through western France to northern France and over to England. Because a different type of Yersinia pestis was found in Bergen op Zoom in the Netherlands, the two scientists believe that the South of the Netherlands was not directly infected from England or France, but rather from the North. This would indicate another infection route, which ran from Norway via Friesland and down to the Netherlands. Further investigations are required to uncover the complete route of the epidemic. "The history of this pandemic," stated Hänsch, "is much more complicated than we had previously thought."

More information: Haensch, S., Bianucci, R., et al. (2010) Distinct Clones of Yersinia pestis Caused the Black Death PLoS Pathog 6(10): e1001134. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1001134

Provided by Johannes Gutenberg University
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escargot1Offline
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PostPosted: 18-10-2010 07:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's another suggestion for an explanation of the spread of plague: it's the comets.

New Light on the Black Death: The Cosmic Connection

Quote:
There really is quite sufficient data presented in Baillie's book to support the theory that the Black Death was due to an impact by Comet Debris - similar to the impacts on Jupiter by the fragments of Comet Shoemaker-Levy back in 1994. As to exactly how these deaths occurred, there are a number of possibilities: earthquakes, floods (tsunami), rains of fire, chemicals released by the high-energy explosions in the atmosphere, including ammonium and hydrogen cyanide, and possibly even comet born disease pathogens.

If it has happened as often as Baillie suggests, it can happen again. And if, as we suspect, the Earth is slated for a bombardment in the not too distant future, it seems that there are more ways to die in such an event than just getting hit by a comet fragment.
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OldTimeRadioOffline
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PostPosted: 03-12-2010 08:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

In line with Escargot's post above, when I began a serious study of the London Plague of 1665 some years ago I was stunned at the number of comets which had been observed over Southern England since the previous December (1664), as well as by the fact that these seem to have been generally accepted as presaging a major pestilence soon to arrive.

Make of this what you will.
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rynner2Offline
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PostPosted: 03-12-2010 09:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

Comets have been considered harbingers of doom since ancient times.
Quote:
Dr Stace Victor Murray Clube (born October 22, 1934 in London) is an English astrophysicist.

He was educated at St John's and Christ Church, Oxford. He played first class cricket for Oxford University.[1]

Clube is a professional astronomer, he has been Dean of the Astrophysics Department of Oxford University and has worked at the observatories of Edinburgh, Armagh and Cape Town.[2]

He is known primarily for his work in collaboration with Bill Napier and others on the theory of "coherent catastrophism"[3] and is an expert on comets and cosmology.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Clube


The 'others' include Mike Baillie. Cool
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OldTimeRadioOffline
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PostPosted: 07-12-2010 06:45    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eight or 10 years ago I attempted to launch a study of Omens - both historical and contemporary-continuing.

Alas, I seemed to be the only person with any interest in the idea.
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SHAYBARSABEOffline
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PostPosted: 07-12-2010 20:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

OldTimeRadio wrote:
Eight or 10 years ago I attempted to launch a study of Omens - both historical and contemporary-continuing.

Alas, I seemed to be the only person with any interest in the idea.



That is interesting. What aspects are you investigating?
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AngelAliceOffline
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PostPosted: 12-12-2010 12:51    Post subject: Reply with quote

The idea that a few extra trees growing on farmland caused the Little Ice Age is one of the more ridiculous ideas ever to come out of the global warming debate isn't it. I mean, do these people know anything real about climate-science, tree-biology and total area of pre-industrial forestation?
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AngelAliceOffline
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PostPosted: 12-12-2010 12:56    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re the 14thC plague (as opposed to the 1660 one). didn't some people do a study that suggested it wasn't Bubonic Plague at all, but maybe a bad flu-type illness? That would certainly fit the appalling mortality and speed of spread.
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CultjunkyOffline
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PostPosted: 12-12-2010 20:27    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seeing as I'm stuck with a bad flu, I'm somewhat alarmed by the last post. So...Just done a quick search and on the Wiki site, there is a ref. to a publication by JP Byrne stating the symptoms to be very un flu like...

"Contemporary accounts of the plague are often varied or imprecise. The most commonly noted symptom was the appearance of buboes in the groin, the neck and armpits, which oozed pus and bled when opened.[20] - J. P. Byrne, The Black Death (London: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004), ISBN 0-313-32492-1, pp. 21-9."

This also available on Bittorrent to download. But an author search to check the credentials of JP lists him as an actor!!!

Phew, pass the Lemsip. Of course, it being Wiki, it could be less than acurate, in which case I've got about two days befor the last post Arrow http://www.nevilley.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/trumpet/lastpost.html alarms me

P.S

How do you get the words "last post" to work as a hyperlink thingy?
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FelixAntoniusOffline
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PostPosted: 24-12-2010 22:26    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was the: "Sweating Sickness" that started in 1484.

John Stow in his Survey of London, reports that in this year there were:- "Three sheriffs and three mayors (of London) this year by means of the sweating sickness, etc."

Google it for more information, it may have been a virulent form of influenza.
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 01-03-2011 18:53    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Plague scientist dies of... the plague
http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2011/03/plague-scientist-died-of-the-plague.html
17:54 1 March 2011
Debora MacKenzie, reporter

It must be a recurrent nightmare for researchers who work with deadly microbes: being killed by your own research subjects. Microbe hunters know better than anyone else just how nasty infectious disease can be, and they spend much of their professional lives wielding bleach and maintaining stringent lab protocols to keep the objects of their fascination at bay. But sometimes one jumps the fence. Just such a tragedy caused the death in 2009 of Malcolm Casadaban, aged 60, a respected plague researcher at the University of Chicago. But how it did so was a mystery, until now.


Plague has a fearsome reputation, being blamed (unfairly, some believe) for the medieval Black Death. But the bacteria are far harder to catch than many lab pathogens - in nature you must inhale lots of bacteria, or have them injected by a flea bite. The plague bacteria Casadaban was working with were deliberately weakened, and unlike ordinary plague, they aren't even on the US list of potential bioweapons bugs. Medical investigators later found they couldn't even kill mice with the bacteria that killed the scientist.


So how did Casadaban die? It turns out his death was a medical coincidence worthy of the hit TV series House, in which crack diagnosticians try to figure out tough cases. Their patients typically have unusual combinations of conditions, something Casadaban unfortunately fell prey to.


Casadaban's lab bugs were weak because they have trouble taking up iron, which they need to make crucial enzymes. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to him, Casadaban had haemochromatosis, a genetic disorder in which people accumulate high levels of iron in their blood and organs. When the weakened bacteria somehow hit Casadaban's blood, they suddenly received an influx in iron and regained their strength.


There are several tragedies here, besides the loss of a good scientist. One, the bacteria may have entered his bloodstream because, like many experienced researchers, he occasionally didn't take all the safety precautions, such as rubber gloves. Why bother, with such safe bacteria?


This is one more reminder that nature can bite in ways we don't always expect. Readers, if you work with microbes - wear the gloves. Worse, Casadaban initially went to the doctor with the classic "flu-like symptoms" typical of nearly every early infection, but sought no further treatment. He then went back three days later as it got worse, and was dead 13 hours after that.


The bacteria were only identified when a hospital doctor learned by chance where the patient worked, and someone tested for plague - five days after he died. Yet plague would have been readily curable with the right antibiotics.


Casadaban never told his doctors he worked in a plague lab. Maybe he feared unleashing the kind of panic experienced by other plague scientists over misplaced fears of bioterrorism. Who knows how many unusual afflictions like this are never diagnosed at all?
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OldTimeRadioOffline
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PostPosted: 02-03-2011 02:12    Post subject: Reply with quote

AngelAlice wrote:
Re the 14thC plague (as opposed to the 1660 one). didn't some people do a study that suggested it wasn't Bubonic Plague at all, but maybe a bad flu-type illness? That would certainly fit the appalling mortality and speed of spread.


Has any 'flu pandemic in history left the sufferers covered with buboes?
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PostPosted: 02-03-2011 19:02    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most importantly, the plague manifests in different ways - if it gives you buboes, it's deemed bubonic plague. It also manifests as septicemic plague, and pneumonic plague.

By the looks of it, pneumonic plague has more flu-like symptoms.
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PostPosted: 04-03-2011 03:19    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thie prvious post gives me an opportunity to ask a question that has dogged me for years - Where the 19th Century European outbreaks of Septicemic Plague which were (then) blamed upon decayiing corpses piled high on Napoleonic battlefields caused by Yersinia Pestis, or was this another disease entirely?
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