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How Common Is Bubonic Plague?

Approximately 10 to 20 people in the United States develop bubonic plague each year from flea or rodent bites -- primarily from infected prairie dogs -- in rural areas of the southwestern United States. About one in seven of those infected die from it. There has not been a case of person-to-person infection in the United States since 1924.
 
Worldwide, there have been small bubonic plague outbreaks in Asia, Africa, and South America. Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports 1,000 to 3,000 cases of plague every year. Current WHO statistics show there were 2,118 cases in 2003 worldwide.
 
Bubonic plague occurs more frequently during the spring and summer months, especially in males and people under the age of 20.
 
(Click Where Is Plague? for more information.)
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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