Plague is an infectious disease with an infamous past that has affected human history. Because of its contagious nature, plague is a weapon of bioterrorism. Although it is not as common as it once was, outbreaks of plague do occur today.

Types of plague include:

  • Pneumonic—in the lungs, from breathing in droplets or as a progression of another type
  • Bubonic—in the lymph nodes, occurring after a flea bite
  • Septicemic—a body system-wide infection, occurring after a flea bite

Plague is treated with isolation and antibiotics.

Plague is caused by specific bacteria.

Bubonic and septicemic plagues are spread by bites from infected fleas. Transmission can also occur when a person comes in contact with infected tissue or bodily fluids from another person or animal.

Pneumonic plague is spread by droplets in the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The disease is transmitted to another person when the droplets are inhaled. Transmission by droplets is the only way pneumonic plague spreads among people.

Pneumonic Plague Transmission
Droplets from an infected person are inhaled into the lungs.
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