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To the Editor:—
On page 48 of the advertising section in the Oct. 6, 1956, issue of The Journal under From Other Pages is an abstract of an article by F. E. Loosjes, "Is the Brown Rat ( Rattus Norvegicus Berkenhout Responsible for the Disappearance of Plague from Western Europe?" in Documenta de medicina geographica et tropica, June, 1956. The first sentence, "The absence of plague epidemics in Western Europe since the eighteenth century is often attributed to the disappearance of the black rat ( Rattus rattus L. )—the host of the plaque flea" carries with it certain erroneous implications. In the first place, it is now well known that any rodent may and often does carry plague fleas. The black rat is by no means the sole "host of the plague flea." What seems to be less well known is the fact that any flea-bearing animal may carry "plague fleas." About
Schaefer JH. PLAGUE. JAMA. 1956;162(17):1568. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970340058022
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