An international group of scientists has produced a new study establishing Yersinia pestis as "the etiologic agent of modern plague." The study is especially interested in the second pandemic or the "Black Death" which ravaged Europe from 1347 until 1750.
The authors write:
The most informative method to establish the etiological nature of these ancient infections should be the analysis of ancient DNA, but the results of this method have been controversial. Here, by combining ancient DNA analyses and protein-specific detection, we demonstrate unambiguously that Y. pestis caused the Black Death. Furthermore, we show that at least two variants of Y. pestis spread over Europe during the second pandemic.