Home Fashion Bubonic plague case found in US: Symptoms to preventive tips, all you want to know

Bubonic plague case found in US: Symptoms to preventive tips, all you want to know

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Bubonic plague case found in US: Symptoms to preventive tips, all you want to know

The bubonic plague, an infectious disease that caused a pandemic back in the 14th century, wiping out 30-50% of the population in parts of Europe with an estimated toll of 50 million, still exists and causes sporadic outbreaks in various parts of the world. The infectious disease was found in Oregon for the first time in nearly a decade in a person who probably got infected from their cat. As per reports, the disease was identified quickly, and the person was treated with antibiotics immediately. Also known as ‘black death’ back then, bubonic plague is the most common form of plague which is caused due to bite of an infected flea. Plague bacillus, Y. pestis enters the body through the bite, travels through the lymphatic system to the nearest lymph node where it replicates itself. The lymph node then becomes inflamed, tense and painful, and is called a ‘bubo’. (Also read | Measles outbreak in MP: Symptoms to treatment, all you want to know)

The bubonic plague - though thought to be gone away is still a menace. It is an infectious disease caused by the Yersinia pestis bacteria. (Freepik)
The bubonic plague – though thought to be gone away is still a menace. It is an infectious disease caused by the Yersinia pestis bacteria. (Freepik)

“The bubonic plague – though thought to be gone away is still a menace. It is an infectious disease caused by the Yersinia pestis bacteria. The disease—once known as the ‘black death’ in the 14th century, which wiped out an estimated 25 million people in Europe. While modern sanitation and healthcare have significantly reduced its prevalence, sporadic outbreaks still occur in various parts of the world,” says Dr Neha Rastogi, Consultant, Infectious Diseases, Fortis Hospital, Gurgaon.

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BUBONIC PLAGUE SYMPTOMS AND PREVENTION TIPS

Dr Rastogi also talks about symptoms, treatment and preventive measures to follow.

Symptoms

The symptoms of bubonic plague typically appear within 2 to 6 days after exposure and include sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, and swollen, painful lymph nodes, known as buboes, usually in the groin, armpit, or neck. Without prompt treatment, the infection can spread to the bloodstream and cause septicaemic plague or to the lungs, resulting in pneumonic plague, both of which are even more severe and can be fatal.

Treatment

Early diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics are crucial for the successful management of bubonic plague. Streptomycin, gentamicin, doxycycline, and ciprofloxacin are among the antibiotics effective against Yersinia pestis. Supportive care, such as intravenous fluids and respiratory support, may be necessary in severe cases. Prompt isolation of infected individuals and tracing and treatment of their contacts are also important for containing outbreaks.

Preventive measures

Preventing the spread of bubonic plague requires a multi-faceted approach. This includes controlling rodent populations, particularly rats and fleas, which are the primary reservoirs and vectors of Yersinia pestis. Public health measures such as insecticide spraying, rodent eradication programs, and proper disposal of dead animals can help reduce the risk of transmission to humans. Additionally, educating communities about the importance of avoiding contact with sick or dead animals and practicing good hygiene can further prevent the spread of the disease.

“While bubonic plague remains a serious public health concern, advances in medical science and public health practices have significantly improved our ability to prevent, diagnose, and treat the disease, reducing its impact compared to historical pandemics. However, continued vigilance and investment in surveillance and control measures are necessary to mitigate the risk of future outbreaks,” concludes Dr Rastogi.

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