Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Bubonic Plague Underlying Cause

This infection caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis.

Yersinia infection is uncommon, but rarely occurs in some western states, including:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Utah

Animals found to be infected with plague in Montana have included coyotes, bobcats, domestic dogs, cats, rabbits and hares, antelope, deer, elk, prairie dogs, squirrels and other rodents.

Bubonic Plague Types

These are five main types of bubonic plague:

  • Bubonic plague:
    • The most common form of plague
    • Transmitted by the bite of an infected flea
  • Pneumonic plague:
    • The most lethal form.
    • Highly contagious
    • Human-to-human transmission is common
  • Meningeal plague:
  • Pharyngeal plague:
  • Septicemic plague:
    • Severe form that is most commonly seen in the elderly
    • Buboes are rare

Continue to Bubonic Plague Transmission

Last Updated: Jan 26, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Bubonic Plague References
  1. Cobbs CG, Chansolme DH. Plague. Dermatol Clin. 2004 Jul;22(3):303-12, vi. [15207311]
  2. Duncan CJ, Scott S. What caused the Black Death? Postgrad Med J. 2005 May;81(955):315-20. [15879045]
  3. Kool JL. Risk of person-to-person transmission of pneumonic plague. Clin Infect Dis. 2005 Apr 15;40(8):1166-72. [15791518]
  4. Lazarus AA, Decker CF. Plague. Respir Care Clin N Am. 2004 Mar;10(1):83-98. [15062229]
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