Plague Facts (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Steven Doerr, MD
Steven Doerr, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Doerr received his undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He graduated with his Medical Degree from the University Of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado in 1998 and completed his residency training in Emergency Medicine from Denver Health Medical Center in Denver, Colorado in 2002, where he also served as Chief Resident.
In this Article
- Plague (Black Death) facts
- What is plague? What is the history of plague?
- What causes plague?
- What are risk factors for plague?
- What is the incubation period for plague?
- What are plague symptoms and signs? What are the different types of plague?
- Is plague contagious? How is plague transmitted?
- What is the contagious period for pneumonic plague?
- How do physicians diagnose plague?
- What is the treatment for plague?
- What is the prognosis of plague?
- Is it possible to prevent plague? Is there a plague vaccine?
- Could plague be used as a biological weapon?
What are plague symptoms and signs? What are the different types of plague?
The signs and symptoms of plague may take three forms:
1. Bubonic plague
In this form of the infection, bacteria infiltrate the lymph nodes, causing enlarged, painful, tender lymph nodes called buboes. Accompanying symptoms are fever, chills, headaches, and weakness. If not treated, the infection can spread to other areas of the body
2. Septicemic plague
This form of plague is a result of plague bacteria entering the bloodstream. It can occur on its own or may develop from bubonic plague. Symptoms include fever, chills, weakness, abdominal pain, and shock. There can be bleeding and tissue death, especially of the fingers and toes. These dying tissues may appear black, hence the name Black Death.
3. Pneumonic plague
In this form of the illness, symptoms of other types of plague can be present, but the characteristic clinical picture of pneumonia is present. The plague bacteria spread to the lungs or infect the lungs directly when infected droplets in the air are inhaled. This is the only form of plague that can be transmitted from person to person. Shortness of breath, chest pain, and cough with watery or bloody mucus production are symptoms of pneumonic plague.
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