Plague Home > Treatment of the Bubonic Plague
Treatment of the bubonic plague usually includes antibiotics, such as streptomycin or gentamycin. Because the bacteria that causes plague can quickly multiply and spread throughout the body, possibly causing septicemic plague or pneumonic plague, prompt treatment is essential. Furthermore, anyone who has been in close contact with the patient should be evaluated and administered treatment of the bubonic plague, if necessary.
When an infection with the bacteria that causes plague (Yersinia pestis) is suspected, the person is often hospitalized and placed in isolation. Even before lab tests come back, treatment of the bubonic plague will be started, typically involving antibiotics. People who have been in close contact with an infected person should be identified and evaluated.
Some antibiotics used for treatment of the bubonic plague include:
Other antibiotics, including tetracyclines and chloramphenicol, can also be effective.
Individuals who are closely associated with the patient should be identified, traced, and evaluated. These contacts should be placed under observation or given preventive antibiotic therapy, depending on the degree and timing of contact.
If bubonic plague is left untreated, the bacteria can quickly multiply in the bloodstream, possibly causing septicemic plague or pneumonic plague. The plague mortality rate is 50 to 90 percent without treatment; with treatment, the plague mortality rate is 15 percent.