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PLoS One. 2011 Mar 10;6(3):e16735. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016735.

High throughput, multiplexed pathogen detection authenticates plague waves in medieval Venice, Italy.

Author information

  • 1Unité de Recherche sur les Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Emergentes, UMR CNRS 6236 IRD 198, IFR48, Faculté de Médecine, Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Historical records suggest that multiple burial sites from the 14th-16th centuries in Venice, Italy, were used during the Black Death and subsequent plague epidemics.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

High throughput, multiplexed real-time PCR detected DNA of seven highly transmissible pathogens in 173 dental pulp specimens collected from 46 graves. Bartonella quintana DNA was identified in five (2.9%) samples, including three from the 16th century and two from the 15th century, and Yersinia pestis DNA was detected in three (1.7%) samples, including two from the 14th century and one from the 16th century. Partial glpD gene sequencing indicated that the detected Y. pestis was the Orientalis biotype.

CONCLUSIONS:

These data document for the first time successive plague epidemics in the medieval European city where quarantine was first instituted in the 14th century.

PMID:
21423736
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3053355
Free PMC Article

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