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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

Black rats may not have been to blame for numerous outbreaks of the bubonic plague across Europe, a study suggests.

Scientists believe repeat epidemics of the Black Death, which arrived in Europe in the mid-14th Century, instead trace back to gerbils from Asia.

Prof Nils Christian Stenseth, from the University of Oslo, said: "If we're right, we'll have to rewrite that part of history."

http://www.bbc.co.uk...onment-31588671

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does this mean that we will be buying gerbil traps from now one

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The list of diseases that rodents carry and the list of rodents that carry diseases makes me appreciate cats, owls, hawks and snakes all the more. They are not refer to as "vermin" for no reason.

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I don't know, something doesn't seem quite right.

Gerbils inhabit Asia, right? Then they were introduced to France, for example, in the early 19th century thereabouts, right so far?

But..the plague was in the 14th century PLUS gerbils are not scavengers plus they burrow and their diet consists mostly of seeds so I am unsure about this "theory".

It is possible that rats AND mice played a part in the plague but generally it was the self induced unsanitary conditions that humans created that were at the root of it all. Considering, form what I read, that people regularly dumped raw sewage into the streets and probably wells and rivers which in turn contaminated the water they relied on. Supposedly the number of outbreaks lessened in areas that were the most distant from community wells...at least that is what I recall reading somewhere.

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Main page News Title: Were gerbils responsible for the plague ?

At first I thought the title of the thread said "Weregerbils responsible for the plague." As in werewolves... except with gerbils. I quickly realized that was not the case, but that would be a dynamite title though.

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Typical mumbo jumbo from So called Scientists. The problem with this theory is that there isn't a shred of evidence.

As far as I know at the time people said it was rats.

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For the meantime I will stick with 'Rodents spread the Black Death'... so much more encompassing than lumping all the blame on one species.

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Typical mumbo jumbo from So called Scientists. The problem with this theory is that there isn't a shred of evidence.

As far as I know at the time people said it was rats.

You'll find no reference to rats, mice or any other kind of earthly cause for the plague in contemporary writings. Everything from the "malignant alignment of planets" to "Bad air" and the will of God was blamed for the outbreaks. It wasn't until the 19th.Cent that the 'modern' explanation was founded by teams of scientists who visited Hong Kong in 1894.

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Whatever transmitted it must be something pretty immune to the bacterium itself... so rats might be a stepping stone but have been let off the hook as the "cause" for quite a while by science now because they also get infected and die very quickly. The question now is: How immune are Gerbils?

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Typical mumbo jumbo from So called Scientists. The problem with this theory is that there isn't a shred of evidence.

As far as I know at the time people said it was rats.

I think if I didn't know a gerbil was a gerbil, I'd call it a rat. :yes:

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You'll find no reference to rats, mice or any other kind of earthly cause for the plague in contemporary writings. Everything from the "malignant alignment of planets" to "Bad air" and the will of God was blamed for the outbreaks. It wasn't until the 19th.Cent that the 'modern' explanation was founded by teams of scientists who visited Hong Kong in 1894.

I thought they blamed cats for a while?

http://redicecreations.com/article.php?id=11435

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Im pretty sure cats can spread it. We had woman in WV(I think) catch it from her cat, not too long ago, through saliva/coughing (I think). From infected rodent(s) it had eaten?

Actually, from what I remember the Plague is carried not by the rats, gerbils, or cats... but by the fleas that are on them.

http://en.wikipedia....iki/Black_Death

The dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to Yersinia pestis, also responsible for an epidemic that began in southern China in 1865, eventually spreading to India. The investigation of the pathogen that caused the 19th-century plague was begun by teams of scientists who visited Hong Kong in 1894, among whom was the French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin, after whom the pathogen was named Yersinia pestis.[40] The mechanism by which Y. pestis was usually transmitted was established in 1898 by Paul-Louis Simond and was found to involve the bites of fleas whose midguts had become obstructed by replicating Y. pestis several days after feeding on an infected host. This blockage results in starvation and aggressive feeding behaviour by the fleas, which repeatedly attempt to clear their blockage by regurgitation, resulting in thousands of plague bacteria being flushed into the feeding site, infecting the host. The bubonic plague mechanism was also dependent on two populations of rodents: one resistant to the disease, which act as hosts, keeping the disease endemic, and a second that lack resistance. When the second population dies, the fleas move on to other hosts, including people, thus creating a human epidemic.[40]

So yes, cats can spread the fleas which carry the disease.

Edit:

http://www.niaid.nih...ages/forms.aspx

Forms of Plague

Yersinia pestis bacteria can cause three different forms of plague: bubonic, septicemic, or pneumonic.

Bubonic Plague

In bubonic plague, the most common form, bacteria infect the lymph system and causes it to become inflamed. (The lymph or lymphatic system is a major component of your body's immune system. The organs within the lymphatic system are the tonsils, adenoids, spleen, and thymus.)

How do you get it?

Usually, you get bubonic plague from the bite of an infected flea or rodent. In rare cases, Y. pestis bacteria can enter the body (through an opening in the skin) from a piece of contaminated material used by a person with plague.

....

Pneumonic Plague

This is the most serious form of plague and occurs when Y. pestis bacteria infect the lungs and cause pneumonia.

How do you get it?

You get primary pneumonic plague when you inhale plague bacteria from an infected person or animal. You usually have to be in direct or close contact with the ill person or animal.

.....

So, I guess you can get plague from your cat coughing on you. I didn't previously know that.

Plague from a cat...

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jan/31/i-caught-plague-from-my-cat

Edited by DieChecker
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I so read weregerbils (under latest news) and imagined that people actually claim to shift into gerbils...AND they also claim responsibility for the plague.

Edited by ChaosRose
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As was commonly known in Europe, even the fleas on the rats and any mosquitos that had bitten infected rats could carry the deadly black plague; and that Europe had a serious rat problem, and a lack for better sanitation at that time. An asumption that gerbils could have played any serious part is absurd, these little pets [some sort of a 'desert rat'] weren't even popular as pets until around about the 1980s

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I don't care who caused it. I accept the rat and the gerbil as my fellow mammals. It was fate who dealt them a poor hand.

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