The current outbreak of the plague in Madagascar shines a light on the need for new approaches to treat the ancient pathogen. A new UNC study unexpectedly unravels a long-held theory on how a fleabite leads to infection.
Researchers discover that the accepted theory of how Yersinia pestis microbes travel from fleabite to lymph node is off base. Most bacteria get trapped in a bottleneck and never make it to the lymph node, where infection takes root. Finding out why could lead to new ways to stop the pathogen.
Credit: Miller Lab / UNC School of Medicine
The National Institutes of Health and the Robert D. Watkins Fellowship from American Society for Microbiology funded this research.