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Plague: past, present and future

Plague: past, present and future

Stenseth, Nils Chr., Atshabar, Bakyt B., Begon, Mike, Belmain, Steven R. ORCID: 0000-0002-5590-7545, Bertherat, Eric, Carniel, Elisabeth, Gage, Kenneth L., Leirs, Herwig and Rahalison, Lila (2008) Plague: past, present and future. PLOS Medicine, 5 (1). e3. ISSN 1549-1676 (doi:

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[Introduction] Recent experience with SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) [1] and avian flu shows that the public and political response to threats from new
anthropozoonoses can be near-hysteria. This can readily make
us forget more classical animal-borne diseases, such as plague (Box 1).
Three recent international meetings on plague (Box 2)
concluded that: (1) it should be re-emphasised that the
plague bacillus (Yersinia pestis) still causes several thousand human cases per year [2,3] (Figure 1); (2) locally perceived risks far outstrip the objective risk based purely on the number of cases [2]; (3) climate change might increase the risk of plague outbreaks where plague is currently endemic and new plague areas might arise [2,4]; (4) remarkably little is known about the dynamics of plague in its natural reservoirs and hence about changing risks for humans [5]; and, therefore, (5) plague should be taken much more seriously by the international community than appears to be the case.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: [1] Published: January 15, 2008. [2] ISSN 1549-1676 (Electronic), 1549-1277 (Print). [3] Citation: Stenseth NC, Atshabar BB, Begon M, Belmain SR, Bertherat E, et al. (2008) Plague: Past, present, and future. PLoS Med 5(1): e3. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050003 [4] Copyright: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Public Domain declaration, which stipulates that, once placed in the public domain, this work may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. [5] Funding: This article emerged from a meeting at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in Oslo, a meeting funded by that academy, the University of Oslo, and by the European Commission INCO-COPERNICUS programme (STEPICA; ICA 2-CT2000-10046). The organizations played no further role, including no role in the submission of this article.
Uncontrolled Keywords: plague, SARS, DRC, Democratic Republic of Congo, WHO, World Health, disease, Yersinia pestis, plague bacillus
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Q Science > QR Microbiology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2016 22:51

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