Types of Plague
There are three different types of plague: bubonic plague, septicemic plague, and pneumonic plague. The most common type is bubonic plague. Septicemic plague occurs when the Yersinia pestis bacteria (the organism responsible for the disease) multiply in the blood. Pneumonic plague is the most serious of the three types of plague. It occurs when plague bacteria infect the lungs, causing pneumonia.
An Introduction to the Types of Plague
Yersinia pestis (the bacteria that causes plague) can cause three different types of plague in people:
Types of Plague: Bubonic PlagueWith bubonic plague, the most common form of the disease, bacteria infect the lymph system and become inflamed. (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.)
Usually, bubonic plague is contracted through the bites of an infected flea or rodent. In rare cases, Yersinia pestis bacteria may enter through an opening in the skin from a piece of contaminated clothing or other material used by an infected person. Bubonic plague is rarely spread from person to person.
Within two to six days of exposure to the plague bacteria, flu-like symptoms may develop, such as:
- Swollen, tender lymph glands (called buboes, hence the name bubonic).
Types of Plague: Septicemic Plague
Septicemic plague occurs when plague bacteria multiply in the blood. It is contracted in the same way as bubonic plague, which is usually through a flea or rodent bite. Septicemic plague can also appear as a complication of untreated bubonic or pneumonic plague. The condition is rarely spread from person to person.
Symptoms of this type of plague include:
- Abdominal pain
- Bleeding underneath the skin or other organs (not buboes).