Commentary Paleoclimate and bubonic plague: a forewarning of future risk? Anthony J McMichael National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Building 62, Mills Road, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia BMC Biology 010, 8:108doi:10.1186/1741-7007-8-108 The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:  Received: 23 August 2010 Accepted: 25 August 2010 Published: 27 August 2010 © 2010 McMichael; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Abstract Pandemics of bubonic plague have occurred in Eurasia since the sixth century AD. Climatic variations in Central Asia affect the population size and activity of the plague bacteriums reservoir rodent species, influencing the probability of human infection. Using innovative time-series analysis of surrogate climate records spanning 1,500 years, a study in BMC Biology concludes that climatic fluctuations may have influenced these pandemics. This has potential implications for health risks from future climate change. See research article webcite