CEES researchers in spotlight as new plague study is covered by international media

The new study "Human ectoparasites and the spread of plague in Europe during the Second Pandemic" by Katharine R. Dean et al. (PNAS, 2018) receives international as well as national attention with its "provocative" findings. Find links to the articles here!

From left to right: Fabienne Krauer, Barbara Bramanti, Katie Dean, Boris Schmid and Nils Chr. Stenseth

From BBC and CNN to the Times of India, CEES researchers made international science headlines this week, as the new study "Human ectoparasites and the spread of plague in Europe during the Second Pandemic" was published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In the paper researchers Katharine R. Dean1, Fabienne Krauer1, Lars Walløe2, Ole Christian Lingjærde3, Barbara Bramanti1,4, Nils Chr. Stenseth1 and Boris V. Schmidbring forth new findings to indicate that the spread of plague during the Second Pandemic in Europe (14th to 19th centuries CE) more likely was caused by human ectoparasites such as lice and fleas, rather than the popular old culprit: Rats. The findings have garnered the attention of esteemed international media outlets such as the BBC, National Geographic and the Washington Post, and has sparked debate both inside and outside the scientific world.

Read the paper in PNAS here.


See below for a few of the interviews and articles related to the paper:


Article on vg.no: "Ny norsk studie: Svartedauden spredte seg via mennesker – ikke rotter", Jan 23

Article on Forskning.no: "Svartedauden kan ha drept uten rotter", Jan 23

Radio interview with Nils Chr. Stenseth on NRK Radio Østlandssendingen Jan 18 here.

Katharine R. Dean and Boris V. Schmid interviewed in The Washington Post: "The classic explanation for the Black Death plague is wrong, scientists say", Jan 16

and by National Geographic News: "Maybe Rats Aren't to Blame for the Black Death", Jan 15

Nils Chr. Stenseth interviewed by the BBC in the article "Black Death 'spread by humans not rats'", Jan 15.

ABC News radio interview with Boris V. Schmid: "Black Death plague spread by human parasites not rats, study suggests on RN Breakfast". See also the ABC News story here.

IFLScience: "New Study Reveals One Of The Most Basic Facts About The Black Death Is Actually Wrong"

The Independent, UK: "Black Death was caused by humans not rats, says study"

The Telegraph: "Black Death plague spread by dirty humans not rats, study suggests"

The Times of India: "Black Death plague was spread by dirty humans, not rats: Study"

CNN: "Black Death spread by humans, vindicating rats"

SKY News: "Black Death: Plague was spread by humans and not rats, study suggests"

Gizmodo: "Humans, Not Rats, May Have Been Responsible for Spreading the Black Death"

Newsweek: "Black Death: Plague Was Spread by People, Not Rats"

Smithsonian: "Are Rats Innocent of Spreading the Black Plague?"


Author affiliations:

1 Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, Norway

2 Department of Physiology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo, Norway

3 Department of Computer Science, University of Oslo, Norway

4 Department of Biomedical and Specialty Surgical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Pharmacy and Prevention, University of Ferrara, Italy

Published Jan. 18, 2018 12:29 PM - Last modified Oct. 11, 2018 1:17 PM