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Am J Phys Anthropol. 2011 Jul;145(3):489-94. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.21510. Epub 2011 May 3.

Brief communication: co-detection of Bartonella quintana and Yersinia pestis in an 11th-15th burial site in Bondy, France.

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Unité de Recherche sur les Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Emergentes, UMR CNRS, IRD, IFR, Faculté de médecine, Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France.


Historical and anthropological data suggest that skeletons excavated from an 11th to 15th century mass grave in Bondy, France, may be those of victims of the Great Plague. Using high-throughput real-time PCR investigation of the dental pulp collected from 14 teeth from five such skeletons, we detected Bartonella quintana DNA in three individuals and Yersinia pestis DNA in two individuals. DNA from five other deadly pathogens was not found. Suicide PCR genotyping confirmed Y. pestis DNA belonging to the Orientalis biotype. One individual had co-infection. These data suggest a plague epidemic in a population already infected by the body louse-transmitted B. quintana or a body louse-driven transmission of the plague that drove a medieval epidemic in inland Europe.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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