Podcast 513: Plague - The Emergency Medical Minute

Podcast 513: Plague

Author: John Winkler, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • The plague (black death) is caused by the Yersinia Pestis bacteria. This bacteria is spread by fleas and carried by rats. It is very contagious and only needs ~ 100 bacteria to cause an infection. 
  • The pulmonary form presents with cough, fever, night sweats, hemoptysis and has a near 100% fatality rate if not treated in the first day of symptoms
  • The bubonic form causes buboes, which are necrotic, purulent lymph nodes that can lead to sepsis. 
  • Prairie dogs are a common carrier in modern times



Summarized by Will Dewispelaere, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD

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