Symptoms of the Plague
Although symptoms of bubonic plague can progress rapidly to symptoms of septicemic plague, a person can also have septicemic plague without having symptoms of bubonic plague first. Septicemic plague occurs when the bacteria that cause plague invade the bloodstream, producing severe illness.
Symptoms of septicemic plague can include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Severe headache
The lungs are the next most commonly affected organ when a person is infected with the plague bacteria, second to the lymph system. Approximately 10 to 20 percent of people with bubonic plague will also develop pneumonic plague.
Symptoms of pneumonic plague can include:
- Increased breathing
As pneumonic plague worsens, people may experience:
- Coughing up blood
- Difficulty breathing
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
- Respiratory failure.
If a person dies from pneumonic plague, this typically occurs within two to six days. The mortality rate of pneumonic plague is 75 percent, despite appropriate plague treatment.
Plague meningitis occurs in less than 10 percent of infected people. Symptoms of plague meningitis can include:
- Stiff neck