Plague prevention also involves controlling rat populations in both urban and rural areas. This goal has been reached in the cities, towns, and villages of most developed countries. It has not, however, been achieved in the rural or urban areas of many developing countries, where the threat of epidemic plague continues to exist. Control of plague in such situations requires two things:
- Close surveillance for human plague cases and for plague in rodents
- The use of an effective insecticide to control rodent fleas when human plague cases and rodent outbreaks occur.
Antibiotics may be taken in the event of exposure to the bites of wild rodent fleas during an outbreak or to the tissues or fluids of a plague-infected animal. Plague prevention therapy is also recommended in the event of close exposure to a person or pet with suspected plague pneumonia. For preventive plague treatment, the preferred antibiotics are the tetracyclines, chloramphenicol, or one of the effective sulfonamides.
The plague vaccine is no longer commercially available in the United States.