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Plague

Plague is an infectious disease that is caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis. The symptoms of plague depend on the concentrated areas of infection in each person: bubonic plague in lymph nodes, septicemic plague in blood vessels, pneumonic plague in lungs. It is treatable if detected early.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: Wikipedia)

About Plague

Plague is an infectious disease that affects rodents, certain other animals, and humans. It is caused by the Yersinia pestis bacteria. These bacteria are found in many areas of the world, including the United States.

How do people become infected with plague?

People most commonly acquire plague when they are bitten by a flea that is infected with the plague bacteria. People can also become infected from direct contact with infected tissues or fluids while handling an animal that is sick with or that has died from plague. Finally, people can become infected from inhaling respiratory droplets after close contact with cats and humans with pneumonic plague.

What are the different forms of plague?

There are three forms of plague:

  • Bubonic plague: Patients develop sudden onset of fever, headache, chills, and weakness and one or more swollen, tender and painful lymph nodes (called buboes). This form is usually the result of an infected flea bite....Read more about Plague

CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Vaccines for preventing plague

Plague is a rare disease now, but can be life threatening. It is transmitted by fleas and related to rat infestation. There are different forms of the disease, but they can all lead to blood poisoning and to death, although antibiotics are effective against the bacterium that causes it. Vaccines are available for use in laboratory staff working on the disease; however when the authors searched the literature they found no studies of sufficient quality to be included in this review. We therefore cannot make confident decisions about the effectiveness or tolerability of any plague vaccines.

Outreach programmes for health improvement of Traveller Communities: a synthesis of evidence

The study found no evidence to suggest the requirement to develop Traveller-specific health services. Outreach can be used to develop the cultural sensitivity, accessibility and acceptability of mainstream services. Texting appointment reminders is unlikely to be expensive and might constitute the minimum acceptable action to facilitate access to health care. Appropriate payment for the registration of Traveller Community members by general practitioners might also improve access. Mobile clinics are associated with the highest costs reported, with little indication of their acceptability or cost-effectiveness. Evidence suggests that outreach is likely to be more effective when delivered by workers who share the recipients’ ethnicity.

Lower Limb Peripheral Arterial Disease: Diagnosis and Management [Internet]

Lower limb peripheral arterial disease (known in the document as peripheral arterial disease, PAD) is a marker for an increased risk of potentially preventable cardiovascular events even when it is asymptomatic. If it becomes symptomatic it can lead to significant impairment of quality of life through limiting mobility and in its more severe manifestations may lead to severe pain, ulceration and gangrene and is the largest single cause of lower limb amputation in the UK.

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Summaries for consumers

Vaccines for preventing plague

Plague is a rare disease now, but can be life threatening. It is transmitted by fleas and related to rat infestation. There are different forms of the disease, but they can all lead to blood poisoning and to death, although antibiotics are effective against the bacterium that causes it. Vaccines are available for use in laboratory staff working on the disease; however when the authors searched the literature they found no studies of sufficient quality to be included in this review. We therefore cannot make confident decisions about the effectiveness or tolerability of any plague vaccines.

Terms to know

Blood Vessels
Tubes that carry blood to and from all parts of the body. The three main types of blood vessels are arteries, capillaries, and veins.
Lymph Nodes
A rounded mass of lymphatic tissue that is surrounded by a capsule of connective tissue. Lymph nodes filter lymph (lymphatic fluid), and they store lymphocytes (white blood cells). They are located along lymphatic vessels. Also called lymph gland.
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an infection in one or both of the lungs. Many germs—such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi—can cause pneumonia.
Sepsis
Disease caused by the spread of bacteria or toxins in the bloodstream.
Yersinia Pestis
Y. pestis is found in rodents and fleas. Can cause plague in humans.

More about Plague

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Other terms to know: See all 5
Blood Vessels, Lymph Nodes, Pneumonia

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