Plague Home > Plague

How Is It Spread?

Transmission generally occurs in one of three ways:
 
  • Bites from infected rodent fleas
  • Direct contact with infected tissue or bodily fluids
  • Inhaling infected droplets.

 

(Click Plague Transmission for more information.)

 

Incubation Period

When a person becomes infected with the bacteria that cause plague, the bacteria begin to multiply within the body. For bubonic plague, this occurs in the lymph system; for pneumonic, 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 1 to 6 days, symptoms can begin. The period between becoming infected and the start of symptoms is called the incubation period.
 
(Click Plague Incubation Period for more information.)
 

Symptoms

Each type of plague has different symptoms. It is possible for a person to have symptoms of only one type; it is also possible for a person to experience symptoms from each of the three types. For example, a person may first develop bubonic symptoms, followed several days later by septicemic symptoms, then pneumonic symptoms.
 
(Click Symptoms of Plague or Pictures of Plague to learn more about symptoms of this disease.)
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
List of references (click here):
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