Plague

ZOONOTIC CONCERN

Cause: Yersinia pestis

Occurrence in Animals: Wild rodents mainly (rats, squirrels, prairie dogs, mice)

Source in Animals: Blood and saliva

Exposure: Flea bites; bites and scratches by infected animals

Symptoms:

  • ANIMALS:
    • Buboes (abscesses)
    • Frequently death
  • HUMANS:
    • Two main presentations:
      • Bubonic (fever, chills, muscle ache, headache, swollen glands)
      • Pneumonic (fever, cough, chills)

Precautions:

  • Good personal hygiene:
    • WASH HANDS¬†after handling animals and their environment
    • No eating, no drinking, no smoking around the animals
  • Wear gloves when handling potentially infected animals
  • Wear long sleeves and gloves for field studies
  • Treatment of wild-caught rodents against ectoparasites
  • If accidental exposure should occur, seek medical attention immediately
  • Organism can persist for a few months in the environment

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