Return of the 'Black Death'
A disease nicknamed the Black Death that wiped out 60 per cent of the European population in the 14th century may still be a threat in modern times.
CNN reports that scientists have created a map to predict areas in the United States where the bubonic plague, a disease caused by the bacteria tyersina pestis, may pop up in the future.
Those that live in northeastern and southwestern California, central Colorado and north central New Mexico may see future cases of the fatal illness that causes buboes on the skin to ooze, pus, and bleed.
According the scientific study authored by a group at the State University of New York Downstate which shows up in the journal PeerJ on December 14, the American West has one of the largest populations of plague carrying animals.
The plague is primarily transmitted by rodents and fleas. The animals who are most likely to catch the plague are deer mice, the California Vole, the rock squirrel, prairie dogs and black-footed ferrets, reports the study.
The plague originated in the West Coast when rats made their way onto industrial ships during a pandemic that occurred in China.
The Chinese rats mingled with harbor rats and then the fleas that bit the infected rats bit humans and transmitted the disease.
Humans in modern times usually get the plague after being bitten by fleas that have come into contact with infected animals or they'll catch it from their pet cat after it has been infected.