'Biology of Plagues is a fascinating read for those interested in the history of infectious disease and it is provocative and thought provoking.' Richard W. Titball, The Lancet
' … the authors of this challenging book are to be commended for bringing together much fascinating information about plagues.' The Times Higher Education Supplement
'Filled with scientific and historical data, Biology of Plagues will provide ample fodder for not only historians and sciences interested in the study of historic epidemics, but also for modern day public health experts who not only have to deal with current outbreaks, but also future outbreaks of both well-known and novel diseases.' Anna Dogole, History in Review (historyinreview.org)
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Even today, the threat of unstoppable plague is ever-present. Historically, in Europe, the most devastating plagues were between the Black Death and the Great Plague of London. This fascinating book shows that these were not bubonic plague as previously thought, and provides food for thought for social and biological scientists.
Controversial new research suggests that contrary to the history books, the "Black Death" that devastated medieval Europe was not the bubonic plague, but rather an Ebola-like virus.
History books have long taught the Black Death, which wiped out a quarter of Europe's population in the Middle Ages, was caused by bubonic plague, spread by infected fleas that lived on black rats. But new research in England suggests the killer was actually an Ebola-like virus transmitted directly from person to person.
The Black Death killed some 25 million Europeans in a devastating outbreak between 1347 and 1352, and then reappeared periodically for more than 300 years. Scholars had thought flea-infested rats living on ships brought the disease from China to Italy and then the rest of the continent.
But researchers Christopher Duncan and Susan Scott of the University of Liverpool say that the flea-borne bubonic plague could not have torn across Europe the way the Black Death did.
"If you look at the way it spreads, it was spreading at a rate of around 30 miles in two to three days," says Duncan. "Bubonic plague moves at a pace of around 100 yards a year."
Unlike the bubonic plague, a bacterial disease which still exists in parts of Asia, India and North America, viral diseases are p
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A good review of what possibly was the actual cause of the Black Death across Europe and England in the dark ages and early enlightenment periods. Very well researched and written. The one perspective that seems to be missing is scientific testing of the remains of those who died from the English and northern European plague to determine what disease killed them.