Incubation period Causative agent



Prevention and treatment

Sudden onset of high fever, large lymph nodes called buboes, skin hemorrhages; sometimes bloody sputum Usually 1 to 6 days Yersinia pestis, an encapsulated enterobacterium with multiple plasmid- and chromosome-coded virulence factors

Enters the body with bite of infected flea. Bacteria taken up by macrophages. Intracellular environment causes them to transform into encapsulated organisms capable of elaborating multiple virulence factors that allow attachment to host cells, and provide defense against phagocytes and the immune system Endemic in rodents and other wild animals, and their fleas, particularly in the western states of the United States. Can be introduced into human habitations by pets, transmitted from human to human by fleas; with pneumonic plague, by coughing. Pneumonic plague is the most dangerous because Y. pestis is fully virulent at the time of transmission A vaccine is available for short-term protection. Avoid contact with wild rodents and their burrows. Insecticides and rat control. Prompt diagnosis and antibacterial treatment necessary to prevent high mortality

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