The plague bacteria, Yersinia pestis, is transmitted to humans when they are bitten by fleas that have previously fed on infected animals, such as:
- Prairie dogs
The bacteria can also enter your body if you have a break in your skin that comes into contact with an infected animal's blood. Domestic cats can become infected with plague from flea bites or from eating infected rodents.
Pneumonic plague, which affects the lungs, is spread by inhaling infectious droplets coughed into the air by a sick animal or person.
March 26, 2013
- Plague. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/plague/. Accessed Dec. 21, 2012.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Dec. 21, 2012.
- Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed Dec. 24, 2012.
- Sun W, et al. Developing live vaccines against Yersinia pestis. Journal of Infection in Developing Countries. 2011;5:614.
- Butler T. Plague into the 21st century. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2009;49:736.
- Amedei A, et al. Role of immune response in Yersinia pestis infection. Journal of Infection in Developing Countries. 2011;5:628.
- FDA approves new antibacterial treatment for plague. FDA news release. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm302220.htm. Accessed Dec. 24, 2012.
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