Medieval plague bacteria strain probably extinct
This flea, X. cheopis, is responsible for transmitting the bacteria strain that causes plague.
August 30th, 2011
05:34 PM ET

Medieval plague bacteria strain probably extinct

Modern  outbreaks – swine flu, bird flu, SARS – have been scary and deadly, but they don't hold a candle to a plague called the Black Death. The disease killed an estimated one-third of Europe's population, perhaps 100 million people.

It's been a while, but scientists are now figuring out what caused the Black Death - at least, the one that swept through Europe from 1347 to 1351. They found evidence of the bacterium Yersinia pestis in the teeth of some of the medieval victims of the plague. Results are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers screened more than 100 skeletal remains dating from 1348 to 1350 in the East Smithfield mass burial site, located in London, a place where plague victims were known to be buried.

They found a variation of Yersinia pestis that may no longer exist, as it has never been previously reported, study authors said. That suggests that this did not result from contamination from modern bacteria.

There had been some debate about whether there was some other explanation for the medieval plague, such as a different pathogen or bacterium.

The medieval plague is considered the second of three - the first was the Plague of Justinian in 541 A.D., and the third was noted in the 20th century; that disease represents about 2,000 cases per year, worldwide, on average.

A different form of Yersinia pestis is considered the cause of the plague that still exists today. As in the days of knights and castles, modern outbreaks of plague are associated with infected rats and rat fleas, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

In the United States, plague cases in humans mostly occur in parts of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, California, Oregon and Nevada. Internationally, it can be found in Africa, Asia and South America. The plague can still be deadly without proper care, but antibiotics can fight it off.

Given that the World Health Organization has said that plague is a "reemerging infectious disease," further study of the spread of the older version may be worthwhile.

soundoff (528 Responses)
  1. PtttttttttttttttttH!

    probably extinct?!?!?!?!?!?!.....

    August 30, 2011 at 18:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Stephen Daedalus

      Proving a negative is almost impossible, so a good sceintist always explains in terms of relative probabilties. This may sound weak in common language, but in scientific lingo, this is a STRONG statement.

      August 30, 2011 at 20:26 | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      For more details including the fact research was done by a Canadian & German team go to:

      August 30, 2011 at 20:28 | Report abuse |
    • Brent

      @Stephen Daedalus

      - Yeah, well, remember we have creationists that refuse to believe proven fact, so don't over-estimate the idiots out there.

      August 30, 2011 at 23:41 | Report abuse |
  2. Eve

    One of the reasons WHY the Black Plague killed so many was the fact that public and personal sanitation were virtually non-existant. Many of Europe's people lived in squalor, surrounded by either trash or human waste, which promoted the population explosion of rats and fleas. The countrysides were a tad better, but once the Plague obliterated the cities, nothing could stop it from hopping to the small towns and villages outside of the cities and ports. It's hard to compare any modern biological outbreak, simply because the levels of sanitation and disease knowledge are 100% higher than they were in Plague-era Europe.

    In short, I don't like the opening sentence. Plus, "[...] a plague called the Black Death." This is yucky and simplistic, and I would have hoped CNN would promote a somewhat higher standard of writing.

    August 30, 2011 at 18:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Eve

      **the sentence I posted should be as follows:

      Many of Europe's people lived in squalor; surrounded by either trash or human waste, which promoted the population explosion of rats and fleas.


      August 30, 2011 at 18:44 | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Not to mention that the people back then thought that cats were causing the plague (cats have been seen as bad luck for hundreds of years), and killed thousands of them. The plague fleas mostly lived on rats. With no other predators as good as cats out there when it came to rat-catching, the rat and plague flea population thrived and became bigger, which only led to more deaths.

      August 30, 2011 at 19:03 | Report abuse |
    • Glenn

      CNN editing staff,

      Awesome response to Eve.

      August 30, 2011 at 19:04 | Report abuse |
    • tensor

      Yep, in the 1300s people lived in squalor, just like in the 1200s and 1100s, as well as later in the 1400s and 1500s.
      Unfortunately at this time in history, there was also a persecution of women and everything that even hinted at having female qualities by the long arm of the Vatican, and that included cats. Boneheads started killing the "devil" cats all over Europe, in some fairly gruesome ways, too, resulting in ... rodent populations no longer having a natural control mechanism. Stupid, yes, but there you have it. Medieval times, especially post-Crusades, are not one of mankind's finest moments. Mother Nature found a way to strike back; she always does. Not that humans are that much smarter these days.

      August 30, 2011 at 19:04 | Report abuse |
    • CNN Editing Staff


      anyone can be CNN Editing Staff...


      August 30, 2011 at 19:10 | Report abuse |
    • @SantaFeChar

      There was also a direct correlation for plague outbreaks and pogroms against cats as "witches familiars" during the ultra-religious zealot witch hunts. Had they not destroyed so many cats, it has been speculated that the rodent population could have been kept far lower.

      August 30, 2011 at 19:14 | Report abuse |
    • rose

      I have to say that I'm quite impressed with your usage of the word "yukky". Its quite sophisticated.

      August 30, 2011 at 19:16 | Report abuse |
    • Turtles


      August 30, 2011 at 19:16 | Report abuse |
    • Nola

      I don't like how you say "plague-era Europe"

      August 30, 2011 at 19:17 | Report abuse |
    • Nola

      I don't like how you say "human waste". It's icky icky, yucky yucky, poo poo.

      August 30, 2011 at 19:20 | Report abuse |
    • DPLJLB

      KUDOS to the CNN Editing Staff – Your comment to Eve reminded me of Woody Allen's "Annie Hall" when Woody is criticizing Marshall McLuhan and unbeknownst to Woody, Marshall McLuhan steps out of the line and retorts to Woody Allen and says "You know nothing of my work. How you got to teach a course in anything in totally amazing."

      August 30, 2011 at 19:20 | Report abuse |
    • Stephen Daedalus

      I think your standards are excellent, but lets be honest... CNN has NEVER shared that level of standard. CNN and virtually all media outlets simpoly lack the ability to communicate anything of meaningful medical or scientific value without oversimplification and error. Anyone looking to CNN or any other media outlet is barking up the wrong tree. CNN is best at fluff reporting, weather reporting, and some foreign corrospondance when they don't pre-empt their best reporters.

      August 30, 2011 at 20:30 | Report abuse |
    • Mr E

      Well, if certain persons are concerned about “a somewhat higher standard of writing” perhaps one should be by learning how to spell the word ‘existent’ rather than criticizing someone else’s writing. “Obliterated the cities” ? Cities in 12th century Europe were fairly small and, in most cases, little more that a collection of hovels that faced one another with farmland radiating around them and really were not a contributing factor to the sustained outbreak of plague. Besides, in reality the majority of people in medieval Europe lived fairly clean lifestyles that were akin to large Native American settlements of the 17th and 16th centuries. (picture the(Scottish village scenes in Braveheart) so to say it was ‘sanitation’ is a misconception of what life was really like. Rather it was the complete lack of antibiotics and if a similar outbreak occurred in early 19th century America it would have been just as widespread.

      August 30, 2011 at 20:40 | Report abuse |
    • jimmy the freak

      Eve, your initial version of the sentence was correct. You should use a semi-colon to separate two independent clauses. Unfortunately, your second clause is a dependent clause. So, your correction was incorrect; you were right the first time.
      On another note, during the fourteenth century, the church preached that nudity was sinful, even for bathing. So, the people lived for months at a time without bathing. EEEEWWWW! So, the people themselves and their filthy clothing were breeding grounds for fleas. Doctor Michel de Nostradamus was almost arrested when he urged his patients to bathe regularly.

      August 30, 2011 at 21:07 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      "levels of sanitation and disease knowledge are 100% higher than they were in Plague-era Europe" ...So you're saying we only have twice the sanitation and disease knowledge of the middle ages? I think the percent should be in the 1000s at least pal.

      August 30, 2011 at 22:08 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      @ Mr E – Sanitation was a major contributing factor for the black plague. There was no plumbing. People lived in enough filth to attract rats. The fleas of the rats were the cause buddy. The plague would have never spread if people had had indoor plumbing and garbage pickup service. I can say I live clean enough where no rats run through my house. Antibiotics is the cure, yes. Still the plague would have never had the opportunity to spread in a sanitary environment. Nobody likes a devil advocate. Devil's Advocate=Troll.

      August 30, 2011 at 22:22 | Report abuse |
    • nick

      Bob... Eve is very sensitive to the work "Black". Please don't call it Black Plague or Black Death or she might think you don't like black people.

      Thank You.


      August 30, 2011 at 22:56 | Report abuse |
    • Al Sharpton

      We prefer the term Plague Of Color.

      August 31, 2011 at 02:33 | Report abuse |
    • Sevinthseal

      Technically, the plague was brought into the urban areas due to the depletion of arable land because of farming. Loss of habitat for field rats caused them to migrate to cities, which brought the plague-carrying fleas with them. A good study on this was done which analyzed the pattern by which it spread, and was also cited in the book "The Fourth Horseman".

      August 31, 2011 at 03:03 | Report abuse |
  3. Harvey

    Someone's military (like the United States, China, or Russia) or some terrorist organization will try to get their hands on the genetic sequence for this strain and try to turn the Black Death into a biological weapon.

    August 30, 2011 at 18:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ahhahahahh

      Paranoid much?

      August 30, 2011 at 19:09 | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Actually, not only have they tried to use it as a weapon in recent wars, but it's already happened. If I remember correctly, it was by the Mongols. They were trying to conquer the city of Caffa. They took the dead corpses of fellow soldiers who had died of the plague, and catapulted them over Caffa's walls, which resulted in the infection of the people inside the city.

      A few historians argue that it actually set off the Black Death. Caffa was a port city, and citizens tried to escape the place by boat. Some of them had corpses on the boats that had landed there, and other people were carriers of it but hadn't (yet) shown any symptoms. Some of these boats washed up onto the coasts of other European regions, people went to clean it up and got infected...and the rest is history.

      August 30, 2011 at 19:13 | Report abuse |
    • @SantaFeChar

      Given the effectiveness and ready availability of tetracycline, it would make a pretty poor weapon of choice. If they want to execute biological warfare with some dread disease, they should use a virus, not a bacterium.

      August 30, 2011 at 19:16 | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      It's already happened in modern times. Read (or at least look up) the book "Plague" by Wendy Orent. It focuses on the program in the former USSR that created antibiotic resistant strains and developed distribution mechanisms.

      August 30, 2011 at 20:36 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Maybe the US, China, or Russia in a movie. Terrorists like Al Qaeda aren't knowledgeable enough to create biological weapons like that. They would most likely all die of the plague before they could spread it. Terrorists are nothing but "children" in adult bodies with guns.

      August 30, 2011 at 22:12 | Report abuse |
  4. bailoutsos

    No, it is not extinct. I am sure there is some growing in my bathroom.

    August 30, 2011 at 18:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • agreed

      Considering the content of most of your posts, that's no suprise at all.

      August 30, 2011 at 21:17 | Report abuse |
  5. Wow Editing Staff

    Editing Staff,

    When did you guys stoop to the type of condescending questions poised to Eve? I realize that she may be hypocritical by criticizing your writing standards in a sentence that contains the word "yucky", but come on. You're supposed to take the high road, at least I assume you would instead of backhandedly insulting your readers.

    August 30, 2011 at 19:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ummm

      Consider yourself trolled.

      Everyone knows there is no CNN editing staff...

      August 30, 2011 at 21:18 | Report abuse |
    • Muhammed eats pork


      August 30, 2011 at 21:33 | Report abuse |
  6. Meredith

    Wow! Didn't know that the Editing Staff actually read these things!! While she was obnoxious, that reply seemed a bit unneccessary. Aren't there Neo Nazis on other articles that need to be reprimanded?

    Relating to the article, I hope that it stays that way. This world has enough problems. We don't need another Plague on top of wars, hurricaines, etc. 🙂

    August 30, 2011 at 19:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ummm

      You must be a new reader to CNN so I'll help you out. CNN does not use editors as evidenced by the standard of "journalism" on this site.

      Also, no member of the CNN editing staff (if it even existed) would respond to a comment in that manner.

      August 30, 2011 at 21:20 | Report abuse |
  7. Brian

    Personally, I think that such deadly diseases such as the plague stand to eventually mutate to become deadlier as time moves on. Due to this, I think that it is the World Health's Organization to find and contain the plague so it could finally be wiped out. This should be done, in my opinion, much like how small pocks was defeated.

    August 30, 2011 at 19:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. denim

    So effectively, this story says nothing of particular value.

    August 30, 2011 at 19:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Meredith

    Plus, and correct me if I'm wrong, but the information that Eve gave is something that pretty much everyone learns in middle and high school. She's not an expert, and I don't think she claimed to be. If she had not included the bit about the sentence, would CNN's editing staff been so snarky?

    August 30, 2011 at 19:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. dave sharpe

    No, I'm pretty sure he's still in the oval office!!

    August 30, 2011 at 19:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • David

      Wow, you're a real piece of sh!#.

      August 30, 2011 at 22:37 | Report abuse |
  11. CNN Vice President of BS

    To everyone who is utterly surprised at the CNN Editing Staff responding in such a condescending manner – you can put any name you want at the top of your posts. There is no reason to think that CNN cares about Eve's criticism.

    August 30, 2011 at 19:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Elvis Presley

      Don't believe this guy, y'all. This is really me. ThankyouVeraMunch.

      August 31, 2011 at 02:43 | Report abuse |
  12. Jesus

    Just because I call myself Jesus or the CNN Editing Staff doesn't make it true. Except in my case, because I really am Jesus. And you are going to hell, Meredith!!!

    August 30, 2011 at 19:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • God

      Now Son....

      August 30, 2011 at 19:25 | Report abuse |
    • Fox News

      Jesus.... Will the Packer's repeat this year?

      August 30, 2011 at 19:34 | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Leave Jesus alone, God, or no lovin for a week!

      August 30, 2011 at 19:36 | Report abuse |
    • Devil

      Don't worry, I'll keep Mary's bed warm for you God.

      August 30, 2011 at 21:31 | Report abuse |
    • Buddha

      Oy vey, what a whack job this one is!

      August 31, 2011 at 02:45 | Report abuse |
  13. Dr Pepper

    How come the plagues always gotta be black? Wheres the NAACP?

    August 30, 2011 at 19:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Laurie

    I liked the article, and I have an MA in History and an MA in Library & Information Science. Eve does, though, have the right to her opinion, with or without the proper credentials. Even so, keep up the good work CNN.

    August 30, 2011 at 19:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Fox News Editors

    Wow... it's funny what some people will believe with these comments. Do you really think the CNN staff wrote that? Lol... next they'll be believing what we say.

    August 30, 2011 at 19:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Glenn Beck

      Food! Buy my food! Lots of it!!

      August 31, 2011 at 02:48 | Report abuse |
  16. CNN Editing Staff

    Wow, I just became CNN editing staff. Seems you just have to put that in the Name: line. Good trick though.

    August 30, 2011 at 19:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Meredith is a moron

    Anyone can put CNN Editing Staff as their name when they post replies. Any person with more than 4 brain cells could see the joke that it was and not the actual editing staff.

    August 30, 2011 at 19:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Meredith

      Thanks for that. Obviously, in your small world, people can't make mistakes. In case you didn't notice, I wasn't the only one who thought that it was real. Don't call people morons when they made a mistake.

      August 30, 2011 at 20:06 | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Well said, I agree with you Meredith. Furthermore, I learn a lot from my mistakes. It is very powerful to make mistakes. It's much more dimensional than memorizing to perfection (which is the problem with our schools).

      August 31, 2011 at 16:58 | Report abuse |
  18. Roger

    Meredith – the word "snarky" really? I can see that your PhD is not in English! I mean reaaaaaaly 🙂

    August 30, 2011 at 19:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. CNN Editing Staff

    No – you are wrong! Only I am from the CNN Editing Staff!

    August 30, 2011 at 19:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Spartacus

      No, I am CNN Editing Staff!

      August 31, 2011 at 02:50 | Report abuse |
  20. Fox News

    Please don't put words in our mouths! All Democrats are evil and will kill you in your sleep if they can!

    August 30, 2011 at 19:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rob

      We have been called the black plague...

      August 31, 2011 at 17:07 | Report abuse |
  21. TJKoko

    What helped spread the plague during that time along the Silk Road was, I think, Ghengis Khan. The warrior along with his hoard would catapult disease-infected bodies deep into cities and settlements that were surrounded by walls in order to weaken the enemy's defense.

    August 30, 2011 at 19:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. TJKoko

    And, the plague was labeled BLACK since the infected lymph nodes turned into a black color lump. Hence the terms 'bubos or bubonic' and later on 'boob'.

    Ring around the rosie (at first the boob was red colored)
    Pocket full of posies (aeither a flower or herb thought to contain the disease)
    Ashes ashes we all fall down )dead bodies were burnt in a funeral pyre)



    August 30, 2011 at 19:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. kugellager

    With over population getting worse every day Mother Nature needs a good plague every few centuries or so.
    We can only hope that scientists are working on something as we speak.

    August 30, 2011 at 19:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. antonio

    Ghengis Khan lived in about 1162 – August 1227 so only about 120 years too early for the medieval black plague.

    August 30, 2011 at 19:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sam

      Which is why I didn't mention Genghis Khan. The Siege of Caffa was perpetrated by Mongol forces from the Golden Horde (a khanate located mostly in Central Asia). Genghis Khan wasn't the only Mongol leader out there.

      August 30, 2011 at 20:15 | Report abuse |
  25. Ted Turner, CNN Founder

    Hello. As the founder of CNN, I'd like to tell all of y'all to shut up. Thank you and have a pleasant day.

    August 30, 2011 at 19:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jane Fonda

      It was goin' pretty good until you showed up...

      August 31, 2011 at 02:54 | Report abuse |
    • The Real Sir-Mix-A-Lot

      Hey Jane, do you still not have a motor in the back of your Honda?

      August 31, 2011 at 16:13 | Report abuse |
  26. grofys

    it's not "extinct", but even if it were it pales in comparison to government grade plagues. and they are not "extinct".

    August 30, 2011 at 19:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. TJKoko


    Your thinking parallels mine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We've been long overdue for either a massive plague or a world war for a long long time.

    August 30, 2011 at 19:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. TJKoko


    As a health care professional, I disagree. A hundred and twenty years before 'spreading' is not long at all as far as disease is concerned.

    August 30, 2011 at 20:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Meredith

    Wow – didn't think that people would outright attack me. So I made a mistake. People make mistakes. And last time I checked, I never claimed to have any sort of English Writing credentials. Have fun trolling these articles, looking for people to attack to make yourselves feel better.

    August 30, 2011 at 20:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TJKoko

      nothing negative intended but get off of Eve. Just look at the raw information regarding the plague that's been posted here. One can learn.

      August 30, 2011 at 20:07 | Report abuse |
  30. The Plague

    Someone rang?

    August 30, 2011 at 20:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SilentBoy741

      Wrong address. You want my ex-wife's house. I'll give you directions.

      August 31, 2011 at 02:56 | Report abuse |
  31. Thank you

    Catholic church maintained Black Death caused by cats. So cats were exterminated. Then guess what? The rodent population exploded. Leave it o the catholics to f#@k up!

    August 30, 2011 at 20:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. TJKoko

    Fleas are, indeed, the actual vector, the organism or thingy that spreads the disease. And it's fleas which heavily infested rats that many of the population back then ate. But since cats were extinctified and the catholics the majority there and then....

    August 30, 2011 at 20:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. TJKoko

    I meant that fleas are what actually spread the disease and cats harbor fleas. Therefore fleas are termed the VECTOR since fleas are what harbors the disease. Fleas harbor the disease versus cats harbor the vector.

    August 30, 2011 at 20:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. David

    Thats it. Keep digging up people who have died of various diseases and you will make sure these diseases have not gone extinct once they are back out in the air we breath.

    August 30, 2011 at 20:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. DN3

    What? There were 300 million people in Europe in 1347?? Try again. There are only 700+ million people in Europe TODAY. The WORLD population was 300 million in 1347.

    August 30, 2011 at 20:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. CDaeda

    The plaque bacteria must not be extinct if they find samples at old grave sites.

    August 30, 2011 at 20:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Chris R

      The did not find living and intact bacteria. They found degraded bits of DNA.

      August 31, 2011 at 13:40 | Report abuse |
  37. TJKoko

    Just as there are ethnic groups of human beings, there's genetic 'groups'/species of Yersinia, the genus of plague. FYI there's various genus' of E. Coli.

    August 30, 2011 at 21:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • What?

      There are various "genus' " (that should be genera, there, TJ) of E. coli???? Really???? Just how much of the biological sciences did you have on your way to becoming a 'medical professional'? Individual species are designated in Linnaean taxonomy by the genus (in this case "E." [for Escherichia]) and species ("coli") names. There is not more than one "genus" of Escherichia. There are, however, many "strains" as well as multiple "serotypes" of E. coli.

      August 30, 2011 at 21:31 | Report abuse |
    • TJKoko

      What: so sorry for being a bit Latin deficient and thanks for the correction.

      September 1, 2011 at 11:53 | Report abuse |
  38. Yeti37

    Bring out your dead....!

    August 30, 2011 at 21:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Curmodgeon

      "But I'm not dead.!"

      August 30, 2011 at 21:37 | Report abuse |
    • SilentBoy741

      Thanks for the honeymoon flashback there.

      August 31, 2011 at 02:58 | Report abuse |
    • codifex

      9 pence!

      August 31, 2011 at 03:10 | Report abuse |
  39. scott

    talk about a random headline

    August 30, 2011 at 21:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. ibrad

    Do you know what this means? .......... Get ready folks for the new plague. The govts around the world are throwing out feelers to see if people read or just don`t care. The govts are hoping for the later.

    August 30, 2011 at 21:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. IQ

    Can't get enough Black plague stories. Keep them coming. They should make them weekly.

    August 30, 2011 at 21:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. TJKoko

    There are outbreaks of plague, i.e. Yersinia, annually. Just live with it and get a vaccination if your worry mounts.

    August 30, 2011 at 21:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Relictus

      "Vaccination? It's against my religious beliefs."
      – sound familiar to anyone? Hee hee ...

      August 30, 2011 at 21:39 | Report abuse |
    • SilentBoy741

      You'd think by now people would learn to stop dating this Yersinia chick.

      August 31, 2011 at 03:01 | Report abuse |
    • codifex

      Or playing with rats...

      August 31, 2011 at 03:11 | Report abuse |
  43. IQ

    Well we survived the Black Plague, and the Bush Plague. There's perhaps hope.

    August 30, 2011 at 21:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Obama's Plague

      But you may not survive me.

      August 30, 2011 at 21:31 | Report abuse |
  44. CNN Editing Staff

    For those that can't figure it out...

    I don't exist

    August 30, 2011 at 21:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • codifex

      You are NOT thinking!

      Therefore, you are not.

      August 31, 2011 at 03:12 | Report abuse |
  45. Jersey Kate

    Wow – if this came back people would be burning O'Donnell at the stake and Bachmann would be lighting the fire. Perry and Palin would fan the flames. Ron Paul would complain it was a states right issue. Cantor would want to know who was paying for the wood. Romney would stand on the sidelines and watch. Donald Trump would blame the Chinese and then stand back so his hair would not singe. Rove and Cheney would bring the marshmallows.

    August 30, 2011 at 22:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. ridgeway + macarthur

    We purchased those materials intact from Shiro Ishii and the kind folks at Unit 731 for a fire sale price in '44.

    CNN this looks like a cover story, what gives?


    August 30, 2011 at 23:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. ridgeway + macarthur

    Look up Camp 731 on wikipedia and you'll see that these fun little bugs are alive and kicking and owned by the same people weaponizing anthrax – the US government. 10,000 dead from anthrax in Zimbabwe (with help from our friend Mugabe) courtesy of the same.

    Embarrassing, there was a time when we stood for something else. Shameful because good Americans in the military are working for purposes that are kept hidden from them and from the voting public.

    August 30, 2011 at 23:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. HH

    If it was previously unknown – perhaps it's what caused the English Sweating Sickness?

    August 30, 2011 at 23:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Mick

    Another beautiful creature driven to extinction...when will we learn?

    August 30, 2011 at 23:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Captain Trips

    The Bubonic Plague was wimpy.

    August 30, 2011 at 23:37 | Report abuse | Reply
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