What is the Plague?

The Plague is a contagious, sometimes fatal, bacterial disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. It primarily affects rodents, but can be passed to humans through infected fleas or direct contact with infected animals. It typically occurs in rural and suburban areas and can cause serious illness and death.

Types of Plague

There are three main types of Plague: bubonic, septicemic and pneumonic. Each type of Plague has different symptoms and is spread via different methods.

  • Bubonic - Caused by a bite from an infected flea, and is characterized by fever, painful and swollen lymph nodes, and exhaustion.
  • Septicemic - Caused by the spread of Yersinia pestis through the bloodstream, and is characterized by fever, chills, abdominal pain, shock, and skin discoloration.
  • Pneumonic - Caused by breathing in airborne droplets of an infected person, and is characterized by breathing difficulty, cough, bloody sputum, and chest pain.

Complications of Plague

The Plague can cause serious complications, such as septic shock and organ failure, that can lead to death. It can also cause permanent damage to the lungs, kidneys, and other organs. In some cases, the bacteria may spread to other parts of the body, causing more damage and resulting in death.

Treatment of Plague

Plague is treated with antibiotics, such as streptomycin and gentamicin. Prompt, appropriate antibiotic therapy is essential to prevent spread of the disease and death. More severe cases may require hospitalization and intensive care.

Prevention of Plague

The most effective way to prevent infection from the Plague is to avoid contact with infected animals and their fleas. It’s also important to practice good personal hygiene, such as washing your hands often, and to avoid contact with people who have been infected. Vaccines are also available to reduce the risk of infection.