The Black Death wiped out nearly half the population of Europe during the 14th Century, a blight that swept through the continent in the gut of fleas. But a new analysis of ancient human DNA shows that the dreaded bacteria emerged at least 3,000 years before the first plague pandemic—a time before it mutated into its…
This is the story — kept secret at the time, still largely unreported today — of how the most infamous disease in history broke into New York City in the midst of World War II. This is the story of the ominously-named “Wyoming matter,” and how it took me months to track down evidence it ever happened.
People don’t die of the Black Plague in the 21st century — except when they do. And the disease won’t be going away any time soon.
Archaeologists in Paris have found the skeletal remains of 200 individuals laid out neat rows in a communal grave. The site, once the cemetery of a hospital that operated from the 12th to 17th Century, is now a supermarket.
Did an asteroid hasten the spread of black death in Europe? Dendrochronologist and author Mike Baillie says that tree rings "reveal a major event just before 1350. Something catastrophic," similar to the Tunguska event, changed "the composition of the atmosphere and provided ideal conditions for a lethal infection to…
The Pasteur Institute of Madagascar confirmed yesterday that a Madagascar village had lost at least twenty people to a deadly outbreak of the bubonic plague. Today, the BBC confirmed with officials that two cases of pneumonic plague – considered deadlier and more virulent than bubonic plague – have also been reported.
In 430 BC, during the Peloponnesian War, a plague ripped through Athens. We now know it was caused by typhoid fever. You’d think, when we’ve known about an infectious disease for a couple thousand years, we would know how it works. But we didn’t. Until now.
Archaeologists working on London's £14.8 billion ($22 billion) Crossrail Project have discovered a burial ground in Farringdon, a historic part of the city. According to experts, there may be as many as 50,000 people buried in this so-called "no man's land" — victims of the Black Plague that swept through the region…
We're going to be seeing a glut of apocalyptic movies this year, even though audiences are starting to get weary of watching the world end. While Hollywood looks for new ways to blow up the Earth, I'll be taking a look back at how the apocalypse looked when science fiction was new. In a series of short comics, I'll be…
Pictured here is Sierra Jane Downing, a seven-year-old from Pagosa Springs, Colorado, alive and recovering after briefly succumbing to a nasty little bug by the name of bubonic plague. Have you heard of it? Of course you have — but you probably didn't know people still contracted it.
The plague that wiped out over a third of Europe's population in the 14th century came from a bacteria known as Yersinia pestis. Now we've sequenced its genome...and it's weirdly, almost worryingly identical to its modern descendants.
If you're worried about catching a super-virus, you can always be extra careful about washing your hands. But sometimes that's not enough. Sometimes you just need to get all those sick people away from you. This idea has fueled many successful — and unsuccessful — quarantines over the years. Here are the strangest,…
What if a deadly virus ripped through the world, shattering cities and killing millions, but you had the chance to view the carnage from sealed government labs and well-appointed boardrooms? That's the promise of Contagion, a fascinating plague procedural from Steven Soderbergh, where more tension radiates from…
We've suspected it for awhile now, and now it's confirmed that the bacterium Yersinia pestis was responsible for the devastating plague that wiped out a third of Europe 650 years ago. But this ultimate killer started as something far different.
The spread of the Black Death — a devastating pandemic that ravaged European populations between 1348 and 1350 — has long been attributed to the black rat and the fleas it carried from port to port, while hitching a ride on merchant ships.
Though it's often said that serial killers and diseases strike at random, a new study shows that they both kill victims in a predictable pattern. That's why the tools criminologists use to track serial killers can also pinpoint the location where an epidemic started.
The US Department of Agriculture warns that this summer could bring massive outbreaks of grasshoppers and Mormon crickets.
Milla Jovovich is back in black, as Resident Evil's T-Virus-slaying Alice. The first pictures from Resident Evil: Afterlife are filled with contaminated bodies, guns, some old friends and Alice's thigh holsters. Bring it on, lady.
We talked infectious diseases with The Crazies director Breck Eisner. And learned the great pains he took to make sure George Romero's film was updated correctly. Rule number one: These people aren't zombies, they're alive — and full of rage!