If history has played host to mysterious deadly plagues then the Justinian plague and The Black Death has been its most prominent guests. The Black Death plague which is believed to have wiped out more than two hundred million people across the world has revealed itself time and again with a potential to kill millions within hours.
Published online in a journal The Lancet Infectious Disease, the finding by an international research team is based on the analysis of DNA of victims exhumed from their burial sites in Bavaria, Germany. The teeth of two 1500-year-old victims were used to extract the DNA samples for investigation as it was confirmed that the victims died from Justinian Plague.
The causes of the plagues are yet unknown but the connection between the Justinian plague and The Black Death plague has reportedly been established. The DNA from the extracted teeth underwent a genome reconstruction and revealed the existence of an infamous bacterium known as Yesinia Pestis.
Yesinia Pestis is said to have caused The Black death plague and a connection with the Justinian plague that has been revealed, left the researches concerned. It has a mysterious potential to kill millions again if an airborne mutation to the strain itself occurs and as per indication a massive worldwide fatality can take place within twenty four hours of such an outbreak.
It may be recalled that the Black Death or Bubonic plague had recently killed around twenty people in Madagascar in December 2013. The plague spread in Madagascar found its cause in the unhygienic prisons in the country.
African nations keep reporting these plagues with almost 256 cases reported in the year 2012 with sixty fatalities. Such numbers may be small to the rest of the world but researches are already worried about it taking the Avian or Swine flu pattern and becoming air borne to quickly spread across Asia, North Africa and Europe.
The effectiveness of modern antibiotics is still debatable as per Hendrik Poinar, director of the Ancient DNA Center at McMaster University in Canada, who led the research and released its findings. Poinar is of the opinion that the current medical innovations are capable to ward off the plagues.
However, he lacks similar confidence in case the plague becomes airborne, which he feels is a definite possibility. The bacteria can find itself inside lungs and it could get coughed out in drops to infect others who are in contact with the surrounding environment .
Tom Gilber from The Natural History Museum of Denmark added that with 200 rodent species carrying the strain, the ability for the plague to re-enact its documented habit of jumping into humans should not be just considered another fluke. The continuous human encroachment into the natural habitat of the rodents makes the spread a far more likely event in the near future.
While millions around the world remain elusive to the danger that this mysterious plague holds, the need for an effective put in effective counter measures and actions by the government should not be ignored.
By Daris Abraham