Researchers say Black Death's ancient origins traced to lake in Central Asia

Kyrgyzstan Daily Life
Posted at 4:52 PM, Jun 16, 2022

Researchers in Europe say they have found the origin of a plague that wiped out half of the continent's population in the 14th century.

According to the study, scientists say after analyzing DNA from remains found by Lake Issyk Kul, they pinpointed the source of the Black Death originated in Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia in the late 1330s.

The findings of the study were published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

“It is like finding the place where all the strains come together, like with coronavirus where we have Alpha, Delta, Omicron all coming from this strain in Wuhan,” said study co-author Johannes Krause.

Researchers said the bubonic plague, infamously known for causing the Black Death, was spread by rats and their fleas and made its way from ships that arrived on the Black Sea in 1347 to the port of Messina, the Associated Press reported.

"We managed to actually put to rest all those centuries-old controversies about the origins of the Black Death," said historian and team researcher Philip Slavin.

USA Today reported that researchers extracted DNA from teeth of seven people buried at the site and found that they contained Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that causes the disease.

It's estimated the disease killed 75 million people.