The Black Death that killed half the people in Europe in the 14th century has long thought to have been carried by fleas on a certain type of rat. But now scientists think it was actually an Ebola-like disease.

Debora MacKenzie writes in New Scientist that researchers have long blamed the bubonic plague bacterium Yersinia pestis, but they?ve never been able to find traces of it in the remains of Black Death victims. “We cannot rule out Yersinia as the cause of the Black Death,” says researcher Alan Cooper, “But right now there is no molecular evidence for it.” After a detailed analysis of historical records, Susan Scott and Chris Duncan think it might have been caused by a virus that led to massive bleeding, like Ebola.
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