Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Bubonic Plague

Major form of plague, a severe acute or chronic bacterial infection caused by a bacillus, Yersinia pestis, and which occurs both endemically and epidemically worldwide. Bubonic plague is typically characterized by abrupt onset of fever, chills, weakness, and headache, followed by pain, tenderness, and swollen and sometimes suppurating regional lymph nodes (buboes). Historically, one of the original hosts was the black rat indigenous to India (Rattus rattus). It has been suggested that the observed cline for the B blood group allele across Europe can be accounted for by the bubonic plague pandemic in the fourteenth century CE, with individuals possessing anti-A antibody surviving more frequently than those without it. Aka black death, rat fever, glandular plague, Pestis fulminans. A milder form of bubonic plague is known as Pestis minor.

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