Plague is a serious infection caused by bacteria, which is a deadly disease. Plague is also often referred as “black death”. This disease is caused by a bacterium strain known as Yersinia pestis. The Yersinia pestis bacteria is found on animals all over the world and is generally transmitted to humans through fleas.
The risk of this disease is more in areas that are overcrowded, have poor sanitation or have a large population of rodents. In the medieval ages this disease was responsible for killing millions of peoples in Europe. Although, nowadays death from plague are considerably low, with highest incidents reported in Africa. Plague is a very rapidly progressing disease, which if left untreated lead to death.
There are three basic forms of plague:
This is the most common form of plague. This disease is contracted when someone gets infected with this bacteria from a flea bite or from an infected rodent. Rarely this disease can occur from materials that has come in contact with an infected person suffering from plague. Bubonic plague infects the immune system or the lymphatic system, which cause inflammation. If left untreated this disease can move into the bloodstream causing septicemic plague or into the respiratory system causing pneumonic plague.
When the Yersinia pestis bacterium enters the blood circulatory system it multiplies over there and cause septicemic plague. When pneumonic and bubonic plagues are left untreated, it develops into this disease.
When the Yersinia pestis bacterium spreads inside the lungs, patients have pneumonic plague. This is the most lethal form of this disease. When patients infected with this kind of plague coughs, the Yersinia pestis bacterium from the patient’s lungs gets expelled into the air. Other people who breathe this air can also develop this form of plague. Pneumonic plague is the only type of plague that can be transmitted from one human to another. It is a highly contagious form of this disease. If doctors suspect that you have been infected with plague, the will check for the presence of Yersinia pestis bacteria in the patient’s body. While blood test are done for detecting septicemic plague, for bubonic plague, doctors take the sample of the fluid in the patient’s swollen lymph glands. Endoscopy is done on the patients suffering from pneumonic plague, for extracting the sample fluid from the patient’s airway.
Plague is most commonly treated with antibiotics. When this disease is suspected doctors generally start the medications even before the arrival of the laboratory reports.