Bubonic Plague Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

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What is Bubonic Plague or Black Death?

Bubonic plague or pestilence is a disease caused by Yersinia pestis bacterial infection. This plague is also known as black death, can cause death if not immediately treated by medical experts. There are three types of bubonic plague based on the part of the body involved, such as:

  • Pneumonic plague. This type of bubonic plague is caused by a bacterial infection that spreads to the lungs.
  • Septicemic plague. This type occurred because bacteria multiply in the blood of people with bubonic plague.
  • Bubonic Plague. This type of bubonic plague causes symptoms of enlarged lymph nodes.

This plague spread easily in dense areas, have poor sanitation systems, and areas with high rodent populations.

Bubonic Plague Symptoms

Usually characterised by appearing for 2-6 days after a person is infected, with flu-like symptoms. The symptoms that distinguish the three types of the plague, namely:

  • Pneumonic plague. The symptoms include coughing up phlegm or saliva, chest pain, shortness of breath and the body feels weak. This type of bubonic plague can develop quickly and cause respiratory failure to shock in just 2 days of infection.
  • Septicemic plague. The septicemic symptoms include fever, weakness, trembling, nausea, vomiting, pain around the stomach, diarrhea, and bleeding from the mouth, nose and anus. Other symptoms include blackened skin color due to tissue malfunction.
  • Bubonic plague. Bubonic plague has symptoms that appear one week after the person is bitten by an infected flea. These symptoms are in the form of swelling in the neck, armpits, groin and in the area around the bite. Another symptom of this disease is putrefaction in the body (majority of fingers), which makes the skin turn black. That’s why is also called Black Death.

Bubonic Plague Causes

Yersinia pestis bacteria spread by fleas that usually perch on rodents, such as rats, rabbits, and squirrels. Humans can suffer from this disease if bitten by fleas that perch on these animals or transmitted directly through droplets from other sufferers who suffer from pneumonia-type disease. Some conditions can improve a person suffering from Bubonic Plague, including:

  • They live in rural areas, outbreaks are most common in rural areas that are densely populated and have poor sanitation.
  • People who work as veterinarians.
  • Have hobby of climbing mountains, camping, and hunting in the forest that has ecosystem of Bubonic Plague-infected rodents.
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Bubonic Plague Treatments

This plague can be treated using antibiotics. If not treated immediately, then the type of bubonic plague can develop into more severe. For septicemic and pneumonic types, treatment is carried out through intravenous fluids, oxygen, and requires breathing apparatus.

Until now there has been no vaccination that can be used as a prevention of bubonic plague. Consumption of antibiotics can be one of the prevention efforts if someone has a risk of exposure to this plague. However, prevention of bubonic plague can be done in the following ways:

  • Supervise and control rodent populations in the surrounding environment.
  • Avoid piles of junk, pet food or dirt that might allow mice to come over.
  • Wear gloves when dealing with an animal that has been infected with an outbreak.
  • Make sure the animals are kept using antifungal or antiflea products.
  • Prevent animals from sleeping on mattresses or living room couches so that bubonic plague does not spread easily.
  • Interact with the doctor if the bubonic plague is spreading to get early treatment.
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