The risk of developing plaque is very low. Worldwide, only a few thousand people develop plague each year. However, your risk of plague can be increased by where you live and travel, your occupation, and even by some of your hobbies.
Plague outbreaks are most common in rural areas and in urban areas characterized by overcrowding, poor sanitation and a high rat population. The greatest number of human plague infections occurs in Africa.
Veterinarians and their assistants have a higher risk of coming into contact with domestic cats that may have become infected with plague. Also at higher risk are people who work outdoors in areas where plague-infested animals are common.
Camping, hunting or hiking in areas where plague-infected animals reside can increase your risk of being bitten by an infected flea.
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- 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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