Scientists pinpoint source and year of origin of the Black Plague

A new study published in the science journal Nature has discovered the origins of the Black Death Plaque. Following years of debates among historians, the newly published study points to northern Kyrgyzstan in central Asia as the plague’s point of origin within the late 1330s.

DNA from teeth of skeletons in Kyrgyzstan was analysed

The study involved a team of researchers from the Scotland’s University of Stirling, Germany’s Max Planck Institute, and the University of Tubingen. The team studied and analysed the ancient DNA from the teeth of seven skeletons found in cemeteries close to Lake Issyk Kul. Lake Issyk Kul Is located in Kyrgyzstan.

Through DNA sequencing it was discovered that three skeletons carried Yersinia pestis. A bacterium, Yersinia pestis is linked to the outbreak of the Black Plague. 

The plague may have originated nine years earlier than originally thought

The discovery of Yersinia pestis in the three exhumed bodies from this cemetery indicates an earlier origin date than what was previously believed. It was previously believed that the plague originated in the Black Sea region in 1346. 

According to the study, the cemeteries located near Lake Issyk Kul became a point of interest after an unusually high spike in the number of burials was discovered between 1337 and 1339. 

Along with the unusual spike in burials were the words written on the headstones of those buried within the cemetery. Written in the Syriac language, the cause of death was indicated as ‘pestilence’, a word used when referring to a fatal epidemic disease, reports Business Insider.

“Our study puts to rest one of the biggest and most fascinating questions in history and determines when and where the single most notorious and infamous killer of humans began,”

said Philip Slavin, a University of Stirling historian.

Monkeypox outbreak: ‘Very ignorant rumours’ fact-checked

In other health-related news, it was previously reported that the recent emergence of hundreds of cases of monkeypox worldwide has already triggered a flood of misinformation online, much of it modelled on conspiracy theories that have been circulating since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

AFP Fact Check examined three claims that have arisen in the month since monkeypox cases began being recorded outside of areas in western and central Africa where it is endemic.

Social media posts shared across the world have incorrectly claimed that the recent monkeypox disease cases are a “side effect” of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. Read the full story here.

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