The recent outbreak of Ebola reminds us of the ever-increasing threat of a global pandemic. In an age where thousands travel around the world each day, it is not difficult to imagine how a highly transmissible pathogen could rapidly reach the scale and severity of the historic Black Plague or Spanish Influenza. However, it is interesting to consider how such plagues reached pandemic proportion prior to the advent of air travel or even steam ships. Herein, the author invites the scientific community to reflect upon one of the pathways by which Black Plague was introduced from Asia into Europe. This is a story where harsh science bleeds into the humanities in one of the earliest and most devastating episodes of biological warfare.
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