Plague: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 4/15/2021

Plague is a disease caused by an infection. Humans usually get the infection from rodent or flea bites. There are three forms of plague: bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonic.

Bubonic plague is characterized by symptoms and signs such as

The swollen lymph nodes are referred to as buboes. In septicemic plague, the flu-like symptoms are present, but buboes do not occur.

can develop with septicemic plague. Pneumonic plague is the most serious type that affects the lungs. It is caused by inhaling the plague bacteria. Associated symptoms and signs of pneumonic plague include

Cause of plague

Infection with the bacteria Yersinia pestis causes plague. The bacteria are found mainly in rodents, particularly rats, and in the fleas that feed on them.

Other plague symptoms and signs


Bacterial Infections 101: Types, Symptoms, and Treatments See Slideshow

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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.