The short answer is: Yes! There's no doubt that the plague has staying power. The deadly bacterium has probably been infecting people for 20,000 years. And, its genes have hardly changed since it killed nearly half of Europe's population during The Black Death.
Now microbiologists have evidence that strains of the plague may be able to reactivate themselves and trigger new outbreaks - even after lying dormant for decades. That's the conclusion of a study just published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, which looked at recent plague outbreaks in Algeria and Libya.