News | Published:

Rats and Plague

Nature volume 85, pages 1516 (03 November 1910) | Download Citation



ALTHOUGH the recent epidemics of bubonic plague in China, India, and other parts of the world have been always associated with outbreaks of the same disease amongst rats, the historical study of plague throughout the world reveals the singular fact that previous to 1800 very few references to a coincident mortality amongst rats have been put on record. Many excellent accounts of the older outbreaks, notably of the Black Death in Europe in 1347, arid the Great Plague of London in 1665, are in existence, but careful research into these documents by modern historiographers—Haeser, Hirsch, Abel, and Sticker—has shown that for reasons difficult to discover very scanty mention of associated rat mortality has been made.

About this article

Publication history




  1. Search for G. F. PETRIE in:


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing