Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/1/2014 (5 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Scientists examine evidence from medieval times to recent outbreak in Madagascar

The Black Death in the 14th Century was the most devastating pandemic in human history. Untold millions died from the rapidly spread disease. For centuries, the plague had been blamed on rodents, whose fleas carried bubonic plague. However, 25 skeletons discovered by railway engineers beneath London suggest the Black Death was even more lethal than previously thought.

The skeletons, by and large, were poor people. Many of the skeletons showed signs of malnutrition consistent with the 'Great Famine' that struck Europe 30 years before the Black Death.

The skeletons, by and large, were poor people. Many of the skeletons showed signs of malnutrition consistent with the "Great Famine" that struck Europe 30 years before the Black Death.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/1/2014 (5 months ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Bubonic plague, skeletons, United Kingdom


LOS ANGELES, ca (Catholic Online) - After analyzing the teeth of the corpses, scientists believe the bubonic plague mutated into a more virulent strain that passed easily from human to human.

The "pneumonic" form of plague infected the lungs of sufferers. The disease could be easily spread by merely coughing. In medieval Europe's crowded, packed cities this proved to be unavoidable. It also had a much lower survival rate and could kill within 24 hours.

No child need ever go to bed hungry -- go here!


It's estimated that the lives of around 75 million people were claimed by the plague in the 14th century. The researchers say only the more contagious strain can explain why so many died.

In the new BBC documentary, "Secret History: Return of the Black Death," the telecast will focus on the Crossrail project where 25 skeletons were discovered while workers dug 26 miles of tunnels beneath the capital.

Discovered close to Smithfield Market last year, the skeletons were found in neat rows on two levels sealed under a layer of clay. Thousands of bodies are thought to have been interred at an emergency burial site there.

Teeth from 12 of the skeletons were sent for analysis and four tested positive for Yersinia pestis, the deadly bacteria responsible for both bubonic and pneumonic plague. Researchers concluded that the bubonic strain could not have had the devastating impact seen during the Black Death.

"As an explanation for the Black Death in its own right, [bubonic plague is] simply not good enough," Dr. Tim Brooks, an expert in infectious diseases at Public Health England, said.

"It cannot spread fast enough from one household to the next to cause the huge number of cases that we saw during the Black Death epidemics."

"In a small number of people the organism will spread to their lungs and they will then develop a pneumonia. It is that critical switch, that if there were enough people in contact with "hem, that allows it to spread as a pneumonic plague.'

Fellow researcher Don Walker, of the Museum of London Archaeology, said the pneumonic form was "more lethal," adding, that "There was no chance of recovery."

Archaeologists, historians, microbiologists and physicists worked together to apply techniques from several scientific disciplines to the discovery.

The skeletons, by and large, were poor people. Many of the skeletons showed signs of malnutrition consistent with the "Great Famine" that struck Europe 30 years before the Black Death. Many had back injuries suggesting lives of hard labor.

Archaeologists were surprised to discover that the skeletons lay in layers and appeared to come from three different periods: the original Black Death epidemic in 1348-1350, and later outbreaks in 1361 and the early 15th century.

"It suggests that the burial ground was used again and again for the burial of plague victims," Jay Carver, Crossrail's lead archaeologist says.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Europe

Old Age Is a Time of Grace: Pope Francis Calls the World to Honor the Elderly Watch

Image of More than 40,000 elderly men and women, including thousands of grandparents and grandmothers, attended this event. Prior to the Liturgy, an event entitled, The Blessing of a Long Life, featured powerful testimonies on aging and old age. Five passages from the Bible were used to demonstrate the dignity and contribution of the elderly throughout the history of God's plan of salvation.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

This Pope, who coined the powerful phrase - Throwaway Culture- to challenge the instrumentalism of the age and offer in its place a recovery of authentic love, demonstrated the breadth of his Pro-Life vision in his actions and his words on Sunday. The honored ... continue reading


British bishop tenders resignation over affair with married woman Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Bishop Kieran Conry, of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton announced his resignation this past weekend. It was later learned that the 63-year-old bishop had an affair with a married mother-of-two and had engaged in an illicit affair with a second woman.  ... continue reading


Guarding horde for three days and nights, British builder unearths wealth of Roman coins Watch

Image of Egerton's discovery is also one of the best preserved  fourth century collections yet unearthed.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An amateur metal finder has unearthed one of the largest hoards of Roman coins ever found in Britain. Fifty-one-year-old Laurence Egerton made the discovery as he explored land near Seaton in East Devon. So keenly aware of this once-in-a-lifetime find, he camped out ... continue reading


Parchment maps suggest Marco Polo landed in Alaska two centuries before Columbus Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Excluding the Vikings, it's a given that Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus discovered what would later become known as America in 1492. However, centuries-old maps and documents now suggest that Marco Polo got there first. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This ... continue reading


Priests, as well as chaplains at risk in Ukraine frontlines Watch

Image of Ukraine's soldiers have been assisted by chaplains from the numerous Christian confessions in the country: Ukrainian Greek Catholics; Roman Catholics; Ukrainian Orthodox - both Moscow and Kyiv Patriarchates and Protestant communities.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

More than 3,200 people have been killed in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine. The provinces have experienced continual warfare between its government, and pro-Russian separatists and Russian forces. Those among the frontlines there include priests - both ... continue reading


Teenage couple, 14 and 15 years old arrested for lewd acts on Scottish beach Watch

Image of Hot weather there recently triggered an avalanche of sun and drink-seeking teenagers at the Scottish beaches of Troon and Ayr.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Scottish seaside beaches of Troon and Ayr have been the scene of some unsavory acts as of late. In one tasteless recent incident, a 15-year-old girl performed sexual acts on a 14-year-old boy mere feet away from vacationing families and children. LOS ... continue reading


Google's ongoing battle in Europe could cost it $6 billion Watch

Image of Google could face a fine of $6 billion if it loses its ongoing battle with the European commission.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Google's legal troubles with the European commission could cost it 10% of its global revenue, or about $6 billion, if it does not alter its offer to settle complaints, a fine that would be larger than the nearly $3 billion fine levied against Microsoft. LOS ... continue reading


Flown to France, Iraqi Christians get new chance at life Watch

Image of Few of the refugees speak French. Most have never ridden in a plane, let alone traveled to a Western country.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fleeing the death machinations of the Islamic State, 150 Iraqi Christians, of all ages boarded a plane headed to France for a chance at a new life. The people there at the Airport in Iraqi Kurdistan, boarding a French government plane all agree on one point - ... continue reading


Enormous Alexander the Great-era tomb discovered in northern Greece Watch

Image of Archaeologists discovered two magnificent caryatids within the tomb. Each of the sculpted female figures has one arm outstretched, probably to discourage intruders from entering the tomb's main chamber.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The discovery of a magnificent Alexander the Great-era tomb in northern Greece comes at a time when the nation, beset by economic hardship, needs a reminder of its once glorious past. Uncovered last month, the structure lies in ancient Amphipolis, a major city ... continue reading


Islamic State threatening French interests Watch

Image of The last few weeks have witnessed allegiance to the new caliph Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi of a wide range of katibates, or small terrorist groups) mainly in the Sahel region and North Africa.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

With the nation of France joining the fray against the march of the Islamic State have come calls for retaliation. With fresh military strikes on Islamic militants in Iraq, expressions of rage and hatred against France and its interests have been felt ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Job 3:1-3, 11-17, 20-23
1 In the end it was Job who broke the silence and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 88:2-3, 4-5, 6, 7-8
2 may my prayer reach your presence, hear my cry for ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 9:51-56
51 Now it happened that as the time drew near for him ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 30th, 2014 Image

St. Jerome
September 30: St. Jerome, who was born Eusebius Hieronymous Sophronius, was ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter