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PLAGUE (BUBONIC PLAGUE)





Category: Infectious Diseases

Plague is an infectious disease characterized by
inflammation and suppuration of the lymph nodes and cutaneous (skin)
hemorrhages. It has long been known as the Plague or "Black Death," on
account of its "flea-bite looking eruptions." This disease is becoming a
serious matter on our western coast, especially in and around San
Francisco. The disease exists in India all the time, and there is now
danger of it becoming epidemic (existing all the time) in San Francisco,
according to today's, Jan. 10th, Detroit Free Press. Mr. Merriam, chief of
the U. S. Bureau of Biological Survey, recently appeared before congress
and asked for more money to investigate this and other conditions, and how
to stamp out the carriers of this dreadful disease. European wharf rats,
introduced about San Francisco, have spread the plague to the ground
squirrels, and the gophers, rabbits, field mice, and other rodents are now
being infected. In India, fleas on the native squirrel, perpetuate the
plague. The way to stop the plague is to kill the carriers.

Causes. The bacillus pestis (pests) is transmitted through insects, small
animals, like rats, through the air, or in clothing, bedding, and is
contained in the feces and urine. The poor in unhygienic districts are
most often attacked.

Bubonic Type. In this type the lymph nodes, particularly in the arm-pit,
and groins show inflammatory lesions with marked overgrowth of new tissue.
Sometimes there is suppuration, hemorrhage and local death of the part.
The bacilli are formed in great numbers in the affected nodes and
secondary lesions.

Septicemic Type. In this type all lymph nodes and nodules show signs of
toxemia and the bacilli are formed in the primary (first) lesions and in
the blood.

Pneumonic Type. In this type there are areas of broncho-pneumania, with
lesions of the bronchial lymph nodes. The bacilli occur in these
situations and in the sputa.



Symptoms. In the bubonic plague (the usual form) the invasion is marked
by headache, depression, pain in the back, stiffness of the extremities
and fever. This rises for three or four days, then falls several degrees
and is followed by a more severe secondary fever of the prostrating type.
At about the third to the fifth day the lymph nodes usually become
enlarged most often in the inguinal (groin) region. This is followed by a
resolution (getting better) suppuration forming pus or necrosis (local
death of the part). "A flea bite looking eruption and hemorrhages from the
mucous membrane often occur. The mild cases, which often occur at the
beginning of an epidemic, and at its close, are marked only by slight
fever and glandular swelling, which may terminate in the forming of pus in
the part. In these cases the symptoms are slight and last only a few
days."





Next: Septicemic Plague

Previous: YELLOW FEVER



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