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Plague

 

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Plague is an acute disease caused by Yersina pestis. It is one of the most lethal infectious disease known. The plague bacteria is present in India where rodent menace exists. It is transmitted to humans typically by the bite of a flea. Plague may be known as bubonic, septicemic or pneumonic. Plague bacteria could conceivably be put into a form that could be sprayed through the air, infecting anyone inhaling the bacteria and causing pneumonic plague. In 2003, 9 countries reported 2118 cases and 182 deaths. 98.7% of those cases and 98.9% of those deaths were reported from Africa. Today the distribution of plague coincides with the geographical distribution of its natural foci.

Plague in populated areas is most likely to develop when sanitation is poor and rats are numerous.The high death rate from plague in rats forces their fleas to seek alternative hosts including humans. The plague bacteria uses rat fleas for its development which is spread by the flea to its natural host the rat. Plague is a severe, and potentially deadly, infection. It has laid claim to nearly 200 million lives and has brought about monumental changes, such as the end of the Dark Ages and the advancement of clinical research in medicine.

The plague has caused more fear and terror than perhaps any other infectious disease in the history of humankind. The incidence is the number of new cases of a disease that occur within a defined population over an established period of time. Frequently either prevalence or incidence, or both, are given as a rate , meaning the number of cases in a fixed number of people, e.g., cases per 100,000. Individual cases of disease in widely separated geographic areas or otherwise independent cases are said to be sporadic . In people, plague has three forms: Bubonic plague, infection of the lymph glands; septicemia plague, infection of the blood; and pneumonic plague, infection of the lungs. More recent pandemics through the late 19th century killed millions of people worldwide. Improved living conditions and health services have made such large-scale outbreaks of natural plague unlikely, but occasional isolated plague cases continue.

Plague is a life-threatening infection caused by the organism Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that caused the 14th-century Black Death plague pandemic. The bacteria multiply inside the flea, sticking together to form a plug that blocks its stomach and causes it to become very hungry. The flea then voraciously bites a host and continues to feed, even though it is unable to satisfy its hunger. The Black Death was one of the great epidemic scourges of mankind. It swept across Europe and Asia in a series of devastating pandemics during the Middle Ages. Septicaemic form of plague occurs when infection spreads directly through the bloodstream without evidence of a "bubo". More commonly advanced stages of bubonic plague will result in the presence of Y. pestis in the blood. Septicaemic plague may result from flea bites and from direct contact with infective materials through cracks in the skin.

Causes of Plague

The common Causes of Plague :

  • Rural or nonurban residency, especially in geographic areas with known plague foci
  • Contact with sick animals, small rodents, or other possible hosts
  • When a plague victim with pneumonia coughs, microscopic droplets carrying the infection move through the air.
  • Participating in wilderness activities (such as camping, hiking, sleeping on the ground, hunting)
  • Plague is caused by the gram-negative, nonmotile, nonspomlating bacillus Yersinia pestis (formerly called Pasteurella pestis).
  • Wilderness activities (eg, camping, hiking, sleeping on ground, hunting)
  • Fleabite
  • Having contact with sick animals, small rodents, or other possible hosts

Symptoms of Plague

Some common Symptoms of Plague :

  • Chills
  • Sudden onset of fever and chills
  • General discomfort or ill feeling ( malaise )
  • Fatigue or malaise
  • Nausea, vomiting (sometimes containing blood)
  • Muscular pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Severe headache
  • Seizures

Treatment of Plague

Here is the list of the methods for treating Plague :

  • Administer oxygen via nasal cannula, nonrebreather mask, or intubation as determined by the respiratory distress of the patient. Use pulse oximetry to monitor the degree of respiratory compromise.
  • However, there is concern about growing levels of resistance to the drugs.
  • People who have had contact with anyone infected by pneumonic plague are observed closely and are given antibiotics as a preventive measure.
  • Treatment consists of antibiotics such as streptomycin, chloramphenicol, or tetracycline Oral tetracycline is usually not prescribed for children until after all the permanent teeth have erupted.
  • Most patients experience some degree of septic shock (blood infection/poisoning), and specialists monitor this closely in an intensive care unit.
  • Medical management of plague can involve a number of medications.
  • There is no vaccine against plague, but a prophylactic antibiotic treatment for seven days will protect persons who have been exposed to aerosolized plague