History of the Plague


The infectious disease known as the Plague is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. It is a zoonosis found chiefly in feral rodents, spread in the main by infected fleas. Plague epidemics in human populations can, however, occur when the Yersinia pestis pathogen invades rat populations that live in close proximity to humans. The Plague, and thus its originator Yersinia pestis, have been linked to many epidemics in the history of humankind. The only completely proven incidence of the Plague, however, is the most recent worldwide outbreak, which occurred at the end of the nineteenth century (the Third Pandemic). These articles look at the historical sources that may help to trace the spread of the Plague, considering how it spread from East Asia to other parts of the world.

DOI: doi.org/10.5282/rcc/6151