Plague Home > Information on the Bubonic Plague

Bubonic plague is an infectious illness that can affect humans and some animals -- in particular, rodents and parasites such as fleas or lice. The bacteria that cause bubonic plague (Yersinia pestis) can be spread in a number of ways, including:
  • Inhalation of infected droplets
  • Direct contact with infected tissue or bodily fluids
  • Bites from infected animals.
The disease occurs more frequently during the spring and summer months, especially in males and people under the age of 20.
Symptoms of bubonic plague can occur within two to six days of being infected by bacteria. If left untreated, symptoms such as vomiting, abdominal pain (stomach pain), and diarrhea can progress rapidly. The mortality rate for this condition is 50 to 90 percent if left untreated; this rate drops to 15 percent when the disease is diagnosed and treated early.
(Click Bubonic Plague for more information, including other medical conditions that may be considered when making a diagnosis.)
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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