by Steven Belmain
Rats are once again in the news, thanks to recent research, showing that the black death in medieval Europe may have been carried by gerbils rather than black rats.
Another study has indicated that farming expansion in east Africa is attracting plague-carrying rats and increasing the risk of transmission to humans.
These new findings on the role of rodents in the transmission of plague in Europe and Africa highlight some of the serious problems rodents can cause for people. Indeed, the impact of the plague on human civilisation makes it the single most important human disease in history, transforming the economy of medieval Europe through influencing social relations, culture, religion and politics.
Some have argued the effects of the black death helped “reset” European civilisation and contributed to the subsequent Renaissance and European expansionism in later centuries.
Read the rest of the article published by The Guardian, here.
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