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Brief communication: Co-detection of Bartonella quintana and Yersinia pestis in an 11th–15th burial site in Bondy, France

Authors

  • Thi-Nguyen-Ny Tran,

    1. Unité de Recherche sur les Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Emergentes, UMR CNRS 6236, IRD198, IFR48, Faculté de médecine, Université de la Méditerranée, 13005 Marseille, France
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  • Cyrille Le Forestier,

    1. Institut National de Recherches Archéologiques Préventives UMR 6130, Centre d'Etudes Préhistoire, Antiquité, Moyen Âge, Direction interrégionale Centre, Ile de France, France
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  • Michel Drancourt,

    Corresponding author
    1. Unité de Recherche sur les Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Emergentes, UMR CNRS 6236, IRD198, IFR48, Faculté de médecine, Université de la Méditerranée, 13005 Marseille, France
    • Unité des Rickettsies, Faculté de Médecine, 27, Boulevard Jean Moulin-cedex 5, France
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  • Didier Raoult,

    1. Unité de Recherche sur les Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Emergentes, UMR CNRS 6236, IRD198, IFR48, Faculté de médecine, Université de la Méditerranée, 13005 Marseille, France
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  • Gérard Aboudharam

    1. Unité de Recherche sur les Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Emergentes, UMR CNRS 6236, IRD198, IFR48, Faculté de médecine, Université de la Méditerranée, 13005 Marseille, France
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Abstract

Historical and anthropological data suggest that skeletons excavated from an 11th to 15th century mass grave in Bondy, France, may be those of victims of the Great Plague. Using high-throughput real-time PCR investigation of the dental pulp collected from 14 teeth from five such skeletons, we detected Bartonella quintana DNA in three individuals and Yersinia pestis DNA in two individuals. DNA from five other deadly pathogens was not found. Suicide PCR genotyping confirmed Y. pestis DNA belonging to the Orientalis biotype. One individual had co-infection. These data suggest a plague epidemic in a population already infected by the body louse-transmitted B. quintana or a body louse-driven transmission of the plague that drove a medieval epidemic in inland Europe. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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