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Articles » Facts About Plague: CDC-OC

Facts About Plague: CDC-OC

Article title: Facts About Plague: CDC-OC

Conditions: Plague

Source: CDC-OC

Facts About Plague

July 11, 1997

  • There are three forms of plague. Symptoms of bubonic plague include enlarged, tender lymph nodes, fever, chills and prostration; septicemic plague symptoms include fever, chills, prostration, abdominal pain, shock, and bleeding into skin and other organs; and pneumonic plague symptoms include fever, chills, cough, difficulty breathing, and rapid shock and death if not treated early.
  • Plague is caused by Yersinia pestis bacillus.
  • Annually, 1­40 cases of plague were reported (average 13 cases) by western states in 1971­1995. In 1993, 10 countries reported 2065 cases to the World Health Organization.
  • Plague is transmitted by fleas from infected animals to humans (in the United States primarily rock squirrels, prairie dogs, and other burrowing rodents); by direct contact with infected tissues or fluids; or by respiratory droplets from cats and humans with pneumonic plague.
  • Persons at-risk for plague are those exposed to rodent fleas, wild rodents, or other susceptible animals in areas of the western United States. Most cases occur in southwestern states: Arizona, California, Colorado, and New Mexico. Other groups at-risk include hunters, veterinarians and pet owners handling infected cats, campers, or hikers entering areas were plague is know to exist.

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