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Caused by a type of bacteria called Yersinia pestis, the plague is an infectious disease that can affect:
  • Humans
  • Rodents
  • Ectoparasites (fleas and lice).
Plague is most often spread to humans or animals through the bites of infected rodent fleas. Though the disease is now rare, it can still be deadly when it occurs. Appropriate treatment -- which is often started even before a person's lab tests come back -- is critical for keeping the bacteria from quickly multiplying in the blood.
Specific antibiotics used to treat this condition include streptomycin and gentamycin. Tetracyclines and certain other antibiotics can also be effective.
(Want to learn more about the plague? Click Plague to read the full-length eMedTV article, which discusses prevention techniques, the different types of plague, and more.)
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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