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, 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.
The signs and symptoms of plague generally develop between two and seven days after a person acquires the infection. Symptoms depend on one of the three forms of plague and include:
Bubonic plague symptoms include painful and enlarged lymph nodes, chills, headache, fever, and weakness.
Septicemic plague symptoms (black death or black plague) include fever, weakness, abdominal pain, chills, and shock. Tissue bleeding and death may cause the dying tissues to appear black.
Pneumonic plague symptoms include characteristic pneumonia symptoms like chest pain, cough, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Antibiotics are the treatment of choice for plague and are
most effective when given early in the course of disease.
There is no
commercially available vaccine against plague.
Plague may be found in low
levels in animals in the southwestern U.S.
Diagnosis of plague depends upon
identifying the causative bacteria in fluid or tissue samples.
What is plague? What is the history of plague?
Plague is a bacterial disease that is infamous for causing millions of deaths
in the Middle Ages in Europe. Many historical references describe the illness,
which has been referred to as the "Black Death." The first reported plague
pandemic began in 541 A.D. and lasted for over 200 years, killing an estimated
100 million people or more throughout the Mediterranean basin. The so-called
Black Death, or pandemic of the Middle Ages, began in China and made its way to
Europe, causing the death of 60% of the entire population. The third, or modern,
pandemic started in China in the 19th century and spread to port cities all over
Rodents and many other kinds of animals can be infected with plague-causing
bacteria. People contract the bacteria through bites of fleas that have fed on
infected rodents. Humans can also develop the infection from handling fluids or
tissues from infected animals. People with plague pneumonia can also transmit
the infection to other humans via coughing infectious droplets into the air.
Bubonic plague affects the lymph nodes (another part of the lymph system). Within 3 to 7 days of exposure to plague bacteria, you will develop flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, chills, weakness, and swollen, tender lymph glands (called buboes -- hence the name bubonic).
SOURCE: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases