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What is plague?

It is an infectious disease caused by plague bacillus (bacterium), Yersinia pestis.

It spreads easily and can be fatal if not treated.

The infectious disease is known as the “Black Death”.

What was the plague caused by?

Plague is an infectious disease caused by bacteria Yersinia Pestis in humans and animals. Rodents, rats, mice and squirrels, dogs, cats, mice, lice carry the disease and spread by their fleas.

Plague is still found in Africa, Asia and South America. It has become quite rare in U.S.

How plague is spread?

The bacterium (Yersinia pestis) that cause plague can be transmitted from a host such as a rat to a human through the bite of an animal or insect.

What are the types of plague?

Types of plague:

Bubonic plague:

Bubonic plague is the most common form of plague.

The bacteria that cause plague can thrive and grow in the flea’s esophagus.

bacterial growth prevents food from entering the flea’s stomach.

Pneumonic plague:

It occurs due to direct inhalation of the plague-causing germs results in pneumonic plague. The death rate for the pneumonic form of plague is 100% if remain untreated

Septicemic plague:

This form of serious disease may occur quickly and causes severe blood infection throughout the body (primary). It’s diagnosis is difficult because there are no buboes or lung abnormalities.

Risk factors:

Living in a rural area, especially in areas where plague is common

Having contact with sick animals, dead animals, small rodents, or other possible hosts

Exposure to flea bites

Exposure to naturally occurring plague in the community

Employment as a veterinarian doctor

Outdoor activity during the summer months

Animal contact: Close contact with infected animals.

What Are the Symptoms and Signs of the Plague?

Common general symptoms


Body aches

Sore throat



General feeling of illness

Constipation, diarrhea

Cough (may contain blood)

Shortness of breath

Stiff neck

Fever, heart irregularities, 

low blood pressure

Bubo: It is an enlarged, tender, swollen lymph gland most commonly found in the groin

Skin: Bleeding into the tissues can turn tissue black. The medieval name black death is thought to have originated from the deeply darkened skin, bleeding, vomiting blood, and tissue death associated with septicemic and pneumonic plague.

Is plague treatable?

Few of preventive measures are – 

• Treating pets (dogs and cats) for flea control

• Usage of insect repellant

• People traveling in different countries to take additional measures.

For more information, you can visit WHO and Wikipedia.


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