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Differential word expression analyses highlight plague dynamics during the second pandemic

Abstract : Research on the second plague pandemic that swept over Europe from the fourteenth to nineteenth centuries mainly relies on the exegesis of contemporary texts and is prone to interpretive bias. By leveraging certain bioinformatic tools routinely used in biology, we developed a quantitative lexicography of 32 texts describing two major plague outbreaks, using contemporary plague-unrelated texts as negative controls. Nested, network and category analyses of a 207-word pan-lexicome, comprising overrepresented terms in plague-related texts, indicated that ‘buboes' and ‘carbuncles' are words that were significantly associated with the plague and signalled an ectoparasite-borne plague. Moreover, plague-related words were associated with the terms ‘merchandise’, ‘movable’, ‘tatters', ‘bed’ and ‘clothes'. Analysing ancient texts using the method reported in this paper can certify plague-related historical records and indicate the particularities of each plague outbreak, which can inform on the potential sources for the causative Yersinia pestis .
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https://hal-amu.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03663619
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 10, 2022 - 12:02:06 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, May 11, 2022 - 3:47:53 AM

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Rémi Barbieri, Riccardo Nodari, Michel Signoli, Sara Epis, Didier Raoult, et al.. Differential word expression analyses highlight plague dynamics during the second pandemic. Royal Society Open Science, The Royal Society, 2022, 9 (1), ⟨10.1098/rsos.210039⟩. ⟨hal-03663619⟩

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