Medical Definition of Bubonic plague

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/4/2018

Bubonic plague: An infectious disease that is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis and is transmitted to humans from infected rats by the oriental rat flea. It is named for the characteristic feature of buboes (painfully enlarged lymph nodes) in the groin, armpits, neck, and elsewhere. Other symptoms of bubonic plague include headache, fever, chills, and weakness. Bubonic plague can lead to gangrene (tissue death) of the fingers, toes, and nose. Also called Black Death and Black Plague.

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Reviewed on 12/4/2018