Definitions for yersinia pestis

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Princeton's WordNet

  1. Yersinia pestis(noun)

    a bacillus bacterium that causes the plague; aerosolized bacteria can be used as a bioweapon

Freebase

  1. Yersinia pestis

    Yersinia pestis is a Gram-negative rod-shaped bacterium. It is a facultative anaerobe that can infect humans and other animals. Human Y. pestis infection takes three main forms: pneumonic, septicemic, and bubonic plagues. All three forms are widely believed to have been responsible for a number of high-mortality epidemics throughout human history, including the Justinianic Plague of the sixth century and the Black Death that accounted for the death of at least one-third of the European population between 1347 and 1353. It has now been shown conclusively that these plagues originated in rodent populations in China. More recently, Y. pestis has gained attention as a possible biological warfare agent and the CDC has classified it as a category A pathogen requiring preparation for a possible terrorist attack. Y. pestis was discovered in 1894 by Alexandre Yersin, a Swiss/French physician and bacteriologist from the Pasteur Institute, during an epidemic of plague in Hong Kong. Yersin was a member of the Pasteur school of thought. Kitasato Shibasaburō, a German-trained Japanese bacteriologist who practiced Koch's methodology, was also engaged at the time in finding the causative agent of plague. However, it was Yersin who actually linked plague with Yersinia pestis. Originally named Pasteurella pestis, the organism was renamed in 1967.

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Yersinia pestis

    The etiologic agent of PLAGUE in man, rats, ground squirrels, and other rodents.

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