Seek medical assistance for plague whenever you or someone in your family develops a fever or becomes very sick (fever accompanied by severe weakness and severe headache).
Plague is an infection that is life-threatening if it is not treated. Yersinia pestis is the bacteria that cause plague. People are most at risk of infection when they are in areas where these rodents and their fleas are plentiful.
Humans can become infected in the following ways.
- When Y. pestis bacteria enter the body through a break in the skin after direct contact with the meat or blood of an infected animal (could happen, for example, when a hunter skins a carcass)
- By breathing in droplets of Y. pestis bacteria if a person is in close contact with a human or animal with plague infection of the lungs (pneumonic plague)
- From scratches or bites by infected domestic cats
- People who are most likely to be infected include hunters, veterinarians, and those who camp or hike in areas where animals are infected with plague. Domestic cats or dogs also can spread the disease to their owners by bringing infected fleas into the home.
When to Seek Medical Advice
Call your doctor whenever you or someone in your family develops a fever or becomes very sick (fever, severe weakness, severe headache) after:
- A flea bite or any unidentified insect bite
- Exposure to a sick or dead animal, even a pet cat
- Travel or work in areas where rodent burrows and nests are common
- Travel to the high-risk areas where there has been a breakout of plague recently or to countries where plague is most common.
- Also call your doctor if you develop a painful, swollen lymph node, especially if you have recently been bitten by an insect.
Read more articles on Communicable Diseases.
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