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Why Is Bubonic Plague in America?

August 5, 2008

As advanced as America is, it is appalling that such diseases as Bubonic Plague and Legionnaires Disease and Hanta Virus still occur.  Some of the simplest and easiest precautions are not addressed by those in authority or by individuals. The expansion of suburban and urban populations into natural areas that are no longer pristine, have squeezed animals into an overcrowded condition.  Overcrowded conditions have the same consequences for nature as it does for society. Forward thinking, would take into account the additional risks people will take when intruding upon overcrowded reservations we have pushed mother nature into. Overcrowding breeds disease. As beautiful and awesome as mother nature is, we, as a species, are subject to her rules.  Bubonic Plague is a condition our ancestors found themselves in and slowly took remedial corrections, once they made the connection.  Superstition and ignorance and mother nature’s rules reduced populations in overcrowded Europe.  Don’t let the same thing happen in America.

Is There a Cure for the Bubonic Plague?

Many people wonder, “Is there a cure for the bubonic plague?” Antibiotics are most commonly used as treatment for the disease, and are effective in 85 percent of cases. The most convenient cure for bubonic plague — at least in the United States — is preventing it from occurring. This is achieved through public health education, environmental management, and preventive drug therapy.


Reference: Unprepared, Careless and Incapable In 2012

7-year-old Colo. girl recovers from bubonic plague

Ore. man survives “black death” plague (GRAPHIC IMAGES)

Bubonic Plague Reported in Western Nebraska

County reports plague case

By Jerry Purvis   Midlands News Service  Tuesday, August 5, 2008 11:32 AM CDT:  GERING — A case of bubonic plague, which is rarely seen this far north, has been reported locally by the Scotts Bluff County Health Department. County Health Director Bill Wineman told the county board local veterinarian Dr. Jerry Upp reported the case, which had infected a domestic cat. The cat was from a home south of Gering and is the first indication of plague activity in the county this year.

“Plague is a bacterial disease and is usually transmitted from the bites of fleas to rodents and other animals, even humans,” Wineman told the board. “It’s a concern to the public, especially if they have house pets.”

Wineman recommended that pet owners treat their pets regularly with a flea control product. Residents should also clean up areas near their houses where rodents might live, such as woodpiles. And they should keep their pets from roaming and hunting.

“People should tell their children and the whole family not to handle any dead animals they might find,” he said. “Plague is easily transmitted when an animal has died from the disease and the fleas move on to the nearest living host.”

Domestic cats have been involved with plague in California, New Mexico and Colorado in past years, but this is the first case reported in Scotts Bluff County in recent history.

Area veterinarians have been advised of the case so they can keep their clients informed. Health Department nurses are also following up with people who may have come in contact with suspect animals to assure they receive prompt treatment.

Wineman said there has been some reported cases of plague in eastern Wyoming this year in cats and other rodents. He assumed it’s a natural migration process that brought the case to the Panhandle.

Most people will become ill in two to seven days after being infected with the plague bacteria. Symptoms include fever, painful swollen lymph nodes in the groin, armpit or neck areas.

In cats, symptoms are similar to that in humans, including fever, lethargy, not eating and swollen lymph nodes in the neck area. Dogs usually have mild symptoms or none at all.

“It’s a novel event for us,” Wineman said. “The infected cat’s owners were started on treatment, so I hope it ends here.”

For more information on bubonic plague, call the Scotts Bluff County Health Department at (308) 436-6636 or go online to the Center for Disease Control website,

Pet owners who have specific questions about their animals should contact their veterinarian.

UCF Professor Develops Vaccine Against Black Plague Bioterror Attack

A University of Central Florida (UCF) researcher may have found a defense against the Black Plague, a disease that wiped out a third of Europe’s population in the Middle Ages and which government agencies perceive as a terrorist threat today.

Although human trials are still needed, Daniell is confident the vaccine will work for the bubonic and pneumonic plague based on animal studies. Pneumonic plague is spread through the air. Without treatment a person can die within days. Bubonic plague is the more common form and is transmitted through fleabites and kills about 70 percent of those infected within four to seven days if not treated. It was the version that ravaged Europe. If the early findings hold true, this vaccine could mean an extra layer of protection against natural epidemics and man-made threats.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists the pneumonic plague as a potential bioterrorism agent because of the speed of which it can be spread and its 60 percent fatality rate if not treated early enough with an aggressive array of antibiotics.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Plague

CDC Study


As part of a fatal human plague case investigation, we showed that the plague bacterium, Yersinia pestis, can survive for at least 24 days in contaminated soil under natural conditions. These results have implications for defining plague foci, persistence, transmission, and bioremediation after a natural or intentional exposure to Y. pestis.

Most human plague is the bubonic form, which results from the bites of infected fleas; however, plague also can be transmitted to humans by handling infected animals or by inhaling infectious aerosols from persons with pneumonic plague. The incubation period for plague ranges from 1 to 7 days, and manifestations of the illness include rapid onset of fever, chills, headache, malaise, myalgias, and prostration, often with nausea. In particular, bubonic plague is characterized by painful swelling of lymph nodes (buboes) in the inguinal, axillary, or cervical regions; pneumonic plague is characterized by cough and dyspnea; and septicemic plague may result in fulminant gram-negative shock without localized signs of infection (2,6). Multiple clinical presentations can occur in one patient.

CDC Report:   Emerging Infectious Diseases

I always thought that Bubonic Plague was a history lesson and had been eradicated long ago.  This is a disturbing revelation.  As I researched this development, I found that Bubonic and Pneumonic plagues are similar, but are transmitted differently.  Bubonic is transmitted from contact with pets exposed to fleas that have feasted on a Bubonic carrier, so it is blood borne.  Pneumonic is just that, you just breathe the air containing particles of Yersinia pestis (Y. pestis) …  I find it amazing that North America has Y. pestis in its soil and CDC has studied and tested for Y. pestis for years.  There have been casualties and deaths in rural areas.  Maybe that is why little or no media attention was given.  However, Hantavirus got a lot of media attention in 1993, because it took so long to identify the source … it scared a lot of people.

Maybe Americans are not aware of many of these horrible diseases, because their interests lie elsewhere, or maybe because American’s need to know has been decided by someone else.  Would America’s public image be compromised if something as common as a plague virus/bacteria is part of our “special and privileged” environment?

Here is a very helpful, albeit scary, map that tracks diseases around the world from Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology. HealthMap/Global Disease Alert


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