Pervasive #Arctic #lead #pollution suggests substantial #growth in #medieval #silver production modulated by #plague, #climate, and #conflict (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, abstract)

[Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Pervasive Arctic lead pollution suggests substantial growth in medieval silver production modulated by plague, climate, and conflict

Joseph R. McConnell, Nathan J. Chellman, Andrew I. Wilson, Andreas Stohl, Monica M. Arienzo, Sabine Eckhardt, Diedrich Fritzsche, Sepp Kipfstuhl, Thomas Opel, Philip F. Place, and Jørgen Peder Steffensen

PNAS first published July 8, 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1904515116

Edited by Eric W. Wolff, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, and accepted by Editorial Board Member A. R. Ravishankara June 13, 2019 (received for review March 15, 2019)

 

Significance

Detailed lead pollution measurements in an array of 13 ice cores spanning nearly half the Arctic showed surprisingly similar temporal variability during the past 2 millennia until the Industrial Revolution. Lead pollution increased by 250- to 300-fold from the Early Middle Ages to the 1970s industrial peak, reflecting large-scale emissions changes from ancient European silver production, recent fossil fuel burning, and other industrial activities. Pronounced decadal-scale increases coincided with exploitation of new mining districts, technology development, and periods of economic prosperity, while decreases coincided with climate disruptions, famines, major wars, and plagues. Despite midlatitude pollution abatement policies that reduced Arctic lead pollution by >80% since the 1970s, recent levels remain 60-fold higher than at the start of the Middle Ages.

 

Abstract

Lead pollution in Arctic ice reflects large-scale historical changes in midlatitude industrial activities such as ancient lead/silver production and recent fossil fuel burning. Here we used measurements in a broad array of 13 accurately dated ice cores from Greenland and Severnaya Zemlya to document spatial and temporal changes in Arctic lead pollution from 200 BCE to 2010 CE, with interpretation focused on 500 to 2010 CE. Atmospheric transport modeling indicates that Arctic lead pollution was primarily from European emissions before the 19th-century Industrial Revolution. Temporal variability was surprisingly similar across the large swath of the Arctic represented by the array, with 250- to 300-fold increases in lead pollution observed from the Early Middle Ages to the 1970s industrial peak. Superimposed on these exponential changes were pronounced, multiannual to multidecadal variations, marked by increases coincident with exploitation of new mining regions, improved technologies, and periods of economic prosperity; and decreases coincident with climate disruptions, famines, major wars, and plagues. Results suggest substantial overall growth in lead/silver mining and smelting emissions—and so silver production—from the Early through High Middle Ages, particularly in northern Europe, with lower growth during the Late Middle Ages into the Early Modern Period. Near the end of the second plague pandemic (1348 to ∼1700 CE), lead pollution increased sharply through the Industrial Revolution. North American and European pollution abatement policies have reduced Arctic lead pollution by >80% since the 1970s, but recent levels remain ∼60-fold higher than at the start of the Middle Ages.

ice core – lead pollution – Arctic  – plague – Middle Ages

 

Footnotes

1 To whom correspondence may be addressed. Email: Joe.McConnell@dri.edu.

Author contributions: J.R.M. designed research; J.R.M., N.J.C., A.S., M.M.A., S.E., D.F., S.K., T.O., P.F.P., and J.P.S. performed research; J.R.M., N.J.C., A.I.W., and A.S. analyzed data; and J.R.M., N.J.C., A.I.W., and A.S. wrote the paper.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

This article is a PNAS Direct Submission. E.W.W. is a guest editor invited by the Editorial Board.

This article contains supporting information online at www.pnas.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1073/pnas.1904515116/-/DCSupplemental.

Published under the PNAS license.

Keywords: Arctic; Environmental Pollution; Middle Age; Plague; Wars.

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The next #chapter of #human – #plague #science (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, summary)

[Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, full page: (LINK). Summary, edited.]

The next chapter of human–plague science

Bryan S. McLean, Joseph A. Cook, Lance A. Durden, Eric P. Hoberg, and Robert P. Guralnick

PNAS first published June 28, 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1908836116

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In PNAS, Jones et al. (1) provide an expert history of human–plague interactions across central Asia, and we support their thesis that zoonotic systems are best regulated using “control” rather than “eradication” strategies. Nonetheless, a control strategy is incomplete if it fails to acknowledge the critical role that modern biospecimen infrastructure plays in revealing historic and ongoing oscillations of host–pathogen systems. Recent environmental changes unique to central Asia (2), coupled with intensification of cultural and economic exchange in the region (i.e., China’s Belt and Road Initiative; ref. 3) demand approaches to pathogen control that are informed by the historic and …

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{1} To whom correspondence may be addressed. Email: bryansmclean@gmail.com.

Keywords: Yersinia pestis; Plague.

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#Human #response to live #plague #vaccine EV, #Almaty region, #Kazakhstan, 2014-2015 (PLoS One, abstract)

[Source: PLoS One, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

OPEN ACCESS /  PEER-REVIEWED / RESEARCH ARTICLE

Human response to live plague vaccine EV, Almaty region, Kazakhstan, 2014-2015

Zaurbek Sagiyev , Almas Berdibekov , Tatyana Bolger , Almagul Merekenova , Svetlana Ashirova , Zamir Nurgozhin ,Zhandos Dalibayev

Published: June 14, 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0218366

 

Abstract

Background

In Kazakhstan, a live plague vaccine EV 76 NIIEG has been used for plague prophylaxis since the mid-1930s. Vaccination is administered yearly among people living in plague-enzootic areas. Similar practices are used in other former Soviet Union countries. Yet, to this day, the effectiveness period of the vaccine is unknown. It is also not clear how different factors can affect the effectiveness of the vaccine over time.

Methods

We surveyed changes in antibody levels specific for F1 antigens of Yersinia pestis among vaccinated people 4, 8, and 12 months post- vaccination. Blood samples were taken from the participants of the study for producing sera, which was later analyzed using indirect hemagglutination reaction with antigenic erythrocyte assay (micromethod) for identifying antibodies to F1 Y.pestis.

Results

In first-time-receivers of the plague vaccine, antibody titer reached the highest level of antibody that represents a conditionally protective titer after 4 months, dropped drastically after 8 months, and dropped again after 12 months. Similar results were obtained among those who have been vaccinated previously. However, in that group, the percentage of people with a level of antibody that represents a conditionally protective titer remained statistically significant even after 8 and 12 months.

Conclusion

Based on the results of this study, we recommend initiating vaccination campaigns for the medical and veterinary staff, as well as the general population four months prior to the springtime epizootics of plague among wild rodents.

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Citation: Sagiyev Z, Berdibekov A, Bolger T, Merekenova A, Ashirova S, Nurgozhin Z, et al. (2019) Human response to live plague vaccine EV, Almaty region, Kazakhstan, 2014-2015. PLoS ONE 14(6): e0218366. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0218366

Editor: Chandra Shekhar Bakshi, New York Medical College, UNITED STATES

Received: October 31, 2018; Accepted: June 1, 2019; Published: June 14, 2019

Copyright: © 2019 Sagiyev et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Data Availability: All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files.

Funding: The study was conducted under FELTP CDC/CAR, 2013-2015 (CDC Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program) to ZS. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Keywords: Plague; Yersinia pestis; Vaccines; Serology; Kazakhstan.

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#Ancient #Yersinia pestis #genomes from across Western #Europe reveal early diversification during the First #Pandemic (541–750) (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, abstract)

[Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Ancient Yersinia pestis genomes from across Western Europe reveal early diversification during the First Pandemic (541–750)

Marcel Keller, Maria A. Spyrou, Christiana L. Scheib, Gunnar U. Neumann, Andreas Kröpelin, Brigitte Haas-Gebhard, Bernd Päffgen, Jochen Haberstroh, Albert Ribera i Lacomba, Claude Raynaud, Craig Cessford, Raphaël Durand, Peter Stadler, Kathrin Nägele, Jessica S. Bates, Bernd Trautmann, Sarah A. Inskip, Joris Peters, John E. Robb, Toomas Kivisild, Dominique Castex, Michael McCormick, Kirsten I. Bos, Michaela Harbeck, Alexander Herbig, and Johannes Krause

PNAS first published June 4, 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1820447116

Edited by Nils Chr. Stenseth, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway, and approved May 9, 2019 (received for review November 30, 2018)

 

Significance

The first historically reported pandemic attributed to Yersinia pestis started with the Justinianic Plague (541–544) and continued for around 200 y as the so-called First Pandemic. To date, only one Y. pestis strain from this pandemic has been reconstructed using ancient DNA. In this study, we present eight genomes from Britain, France, Germany, and Spain, demonstrating the geographic range of plague during the First Pandemic and showing microdiversity in the Early Medieval Period. Moreover, we detect similar genome decay during the First and Second Pandemics (14th to 18th century) that includes the same two virulence factors, thus providing an example of potential convergent evolution of Y. pestis during large-scale epidemics.

 

Abstract

The first historically documented pandemic caused by Yersinia pestis began as the Justinianic Plague in 541 within the Roman Empire and continued as the so-called First Pandemic until 750. Although paleogenomic studies have previously identified the causative agent as Y. pestis, little is known about the bacterium’s spread, diversity, and genetic history over the course of the pandemic. To elucidate the microevolution of the bacterium during this time period, we screened human remains from 21 sites in Austria, Britain, Germany, France, and Spain for Y. pestis DNA and reconstructed eight genomes. We present a methodological approach assessing single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in ancient bacterial genomes, facilitating qualitative analyses of low coverage genomes from a metagenomic background. Phylogenetic analysis on the eight reconstructed genomes reveals the existence of previously undocumented Y. pestis diversity during the sixth to eighth centuries, and provides evidence for the presence of multiple distinct Y. pestis strains in Europe. We offer genetic evidence for the presence of the Justinianic Plague in the British Isles, previously only hypothesized from ambiguous documentary accounts, as well as the parallel occurrence of multiple derived strains in central and southern France, Spain, and southern Germany. Four of the reported strains form a polytomy similar to others seen across the Y. pestis phylogeny, associated with the Second and Third Pandemics. We identified a deletion of a 45-kb genomic region in the most recent First Pandemic strains affecting two virulence factors, intriguingly overlapping with a deletion found in 17th- to 18th-century genomes of the Second Pandemic.

Justinianic Plague – ancient DNA – bacterial evolution – Anglo-Saxons – Merovingians

Keywords: Yersinia pestis; Plague.

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#Historical and #genomic data reveal the influencing factors on global #transmission #velocity of #plague during the Third #Pandemic (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, abstract)

[Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Historical and genomic data reveal the influencing factors on global transmission velocity of plague during the Third Pandemic

Lei Xu, Leif C. Stige, Herwig Leirs, Simon Neerinckx, Kenneth L. Gage, Ruifu Yang, Qiyong Liu, Barbara Bramanti, Katharine R. Dean, Hui Tang, Zhe Sun, Nils Chr. Stenseth, and Zhibin Zhang

PNAS first published May 28, 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1901366116

Contributed by Nils Chr. Stenseth, April 9, 2019 (sent for review January 28, 2019; reviewed by Javier Pizarro-Cerda and Qiwei Yao)

 

Significance

Plague is a devastating infectious disease that has caused three pandemics during the last millennia. Today, plague still causes sporadic cases every year and even some outbreaks. In this paper, we analyze how factors associated with climate change and globalization affect the spread of plague worldwide. Such information is important with respect to global disease prevention and control. For this purpose, we first constructed a global plague database of the Third Pandemic, and then analyzed the association of spatiotemporal environmental factors with spreading velocity. Our results provide insight into the global transmission and suggest strategies for preventing plague transmission under accelerated global change.

 

Abstract

Quantitative knowledge about which natural and anthropogenic factors influence the global spread of plague remains sparse. We estimated the worldwide spreading velocity of plague during the Third Pandemic, using more than 200 years of extensive human plague case records and genomic data, and analyzed the association of spatiotemporal environmental factors with spreading velocity. Here, we show that two lineages, 2.MED and 1.ORI3, spread significantly faster than others, possibly reflecting differences among strains in transmission mechanisms and virulence. Plague spread fastest in regions with low population density and high proportion of pasture- or forestland, findings that should be taken into account for effective plague monitoring and control. Temperature exhibited a nonlinear, U-shaped association with spread speed, with a minimum around 20 °C, while precipitation showed a positive association. Our results suggest that global warming may accelerate plague spread in warm, tropical regions and that the projected increased precipitation in the Northern Hemisphere may increase plague spread in relevant regions.

Yersinia pestis – Third Pandemic – climate change – global transmission velocity – historical and genomic data

Keywords: Yersinia pestis; Plague.

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Shift from primary #pneumonic to secondary #septicemic #plague by decreasing the volume of intranasal challenge with #Yersinia pestis in the murine model (PLoS One, abstract)

[Source: PLoS One, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

OPEN ACCESS /  PEER-REVIEWED / RESEARCH ARTICLE

Shift from primary pneumonic to secondary septicemic plague by decreasing the volume of intranasal challenge with Yersinia pestis in the murine model

Rachel M. Olson , Deborah M. Anderson

Published: May 23, 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0217440

 

Abstract

Yersinia pestis is the causative agent of pneumonic plague, a disease involving uncontrolled bacterial growth and host immunopathology. Secondary septicemic plague commonly occurs as a consequence of the host inflammatory response that causes vasodilation and vascular leakage, which facilitates systemic spread of the bacteria and the colonization of secondary tissues. The mortality rates of pneumonic and septicemic plague are high even when antibiotics are administered. In this work, we show that primary pneumonic or secondary septicemic plague can be preferentially modeled in mice by varying the volume used for intranasal delivery of Y. pestis. Low volume intranasal challenge (10μL) of wild type Y. pestis resulted in a high frequency of lethal secondary septicemic plague, with a low degree of primary lung infection and rapid development of sepsis. In contrast, high volume intranasal challenge (30μL) yielded uniform early lung infection and primary disease and a significant increase in lethality. In a commonly used BSL2 model, high volume challenge with Y. pestis lacking the pigmentation locus (pgm-) gave 105-fold greater deposition compared to low volume challenge, yet moribund mice did not develop severe lung disease and there was no detectable difference in lethality. These data indicate the primary cause of death of mice in the BSL2 model is sepsis regardless of intranasal dosing method. Overall, these findings allow for the preferential modeling of pneumonic or septicemic plague by intranasal dosing of mice with Y. pestis.

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Citation: Olson RM, Anderson DM (2019) Shift from primary pneumonic to secondary septicemic plague by decreasing the volume of intranasal challenge with Yersinia pestisin the murine model. PLoS ONE 14(5): e0217440. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0217440

Editor: Matthew B. Lawrenz, University of Louisville School of Medicine, UNITED STATES

Received: February 24, 2019; Accepted: May 10, 2019; Published: May 23, 2019

Copyright: © 2019 Olson, Anderson. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Data Availability: All relevant data are within the manuscript.

Funding: Financial support for this work came from the National Institutes of Health/ National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, public health service award #R01A129996 (DA). The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Keywords: Yersinia pestis; Pneumonic plague; Septicemic plague; Sepsis; Animal models.

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#Plague in #SanFrancisco: #rats, #racism and #reform (Nature, summary)

[Source: Nature, full page: (LINK). Summary, edited.]

Plague in San Francisco: rats, racism and reform

Tilli Tansey

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An urban outbreak of a deadly infectious disease with no known cause is a disaster planner’s worst nightmare. In his rousing book Black Death at the Golden Gate, journalist David Randall describes just that: the bubonic-plague epidemic that struck San Francisco, California, in 1900. The race to identify, isolate and halt the disease is set against a rich background of official complacency, financial malfeasance, political intrigues and scientific disputes.

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Nature 568, 454-455 (2019) / doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-01239-x

Keywords: Plague; USA; California; History.

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