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The period of time between being infected with the Yersinia pestis bacteria and when symptoms first appear is called the plague incubation period. This amount of time varies, depending on the type of plague that results. For example, the pneumonic plague incubation period is usually one to three days; for bubonic plague, the incubation period is typically two to six days.
When a person becomes infected with the bacteria that cause plague (Yersinia pestis), the bacteria begin to multiply within the body. With bubonic plague, this occurs in the lymph system; with pneumonic plague, this occurs within the lungs. (The lymph or lymphatic system is a major component of your body's immune system. The organs within the lymphatic system are the tonsils, adenoids, spleen, and thymus.) After one to six days, symptoms of plague can begin.
The period between becoming infected and the start of plague symptoms is called the plague incubation period. The bubonic plague incubation period is typically two to six days. The primary pneumonic plague incubation period is usually one to three days.