Plague deximed german expert information medicine

It is most often transmitted by flea bites. Characterized by the rapid onset of high fever, malaise and dizziness. Sensitive and enlarged lymph nodes on the neck, armpits, and groin are also symptomatic.

– Arises as a result of a severe bubonic plague or is transmitted directly from sick patients by droplet infection. Patients quickly begin to experience high fever, shortness of breath, confusion and restlessness.

The plague is a rare disease in Europe today; the last plague epidemics hit Europe in the 18th century. Century.

The plague is sporadically spread all over the world. In recent years, most cases occurred in Africa. In 2013, 783 cases, including 126 deaths, were reported worldwide. Madagascar has had the world's largest incidence of plague per year; in 2014, plague was rampant in several parts of the country.

A disease with historical effects

The plague was first mentioned in the Old Testament. The disease caused great epidemics. Changed the course of history of many peoples (cf. the Black Death in Norway). The first worldwide epidemic (pandemic) probably originated in Africa and killed 100 million people over a 60-year period. In the Middle Ages ca. 1/4 of the population of Europe from the plague. Until the late 20th century. In the 19th century, about 10 million people died in plague epidemics in India.

"Black Death" (1347-1351) probably halved the population of Europe. This epidemic reached Norway in 1348-1349 (probably the disease reached the country via several routes). The epidemic caused a population decline of 300 in Norway within a few years.000 to about 150.000.

From the Black Death to the last great epidemic in Marseille in 1720, about 10 million people died in the Black Death. 70 major plague epidemics registered in Europe. In Scandinavia smaller plague epidemics broke out every 15-20 years until the last epidemic in 1713. The last major Norwegian epidemic occurred in 1654, killing 30% of the population of Christiania.

The bacterium is named after Alexander Yersin, who isolated the bacterium in 1894 during a pandemic that broke out in China in the 1860s.


The disease is caused by an infection with the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Rodents (z. B. Rats) act as carriers of bacteria, but humans are often infected by flea bites (d. h., that the fleas are vectors).

Plague occurs in conjunction with poor hygienic conditions where fleas and rats proliferate. When there is a possibility of infection, plague is a highly contagious disease.


Bubonic plague is the most common form of plague. The outbreak of the disease occurs 1-7 days after infection. The disease causes rapid onset of high fever, malaise, palpitations, very severe headache, mental confusion, and severe muscle pain. Fatigue, weakness, abdominal pain and/or diarrhea often occur. Painful, swollen lymph nodes ("bubones") occur, often in the groin, armpits, and neck. These bumps can burst and empty. In the later course of the disease, skin changes occur that lead to tie decay (necrosis, blackish-looking dead tie, cf. lead to the Black Death), and severe sepsis can gradually develop. The disease does not spread from person to person unless the lungs have been infected.

The plague bacteria can enter the bloodstream from the skin and lymph nodes and cause sepsis, but they can also enter the lungs and cause pneumonia (pneumonic plague). Pneumonic plague is a severe disease. It is characterized by high fever, cough, restlessness and shortness of breath. A foamy, bloody sputum is a common sign of a severe disease development seen. Pneumonic plague is highly contagious and spreads rapidly from person to person by cough and droplet infection.


A suspected diagnosis requires that the patient has been exposed to an infection, resp. Has stayed in areas where the plague is endemic and hygiene conditions are poor. If the patient was infected by fleas, resp. Rats bitten?

In bubonic plague, a wound with pus formation is found at the site of the bite. The lymph nodes are enlarged and tender. Pus forms in the bumps (abscesses), which may be drained. If the infection enters the blood, patients rapidly become poisoned and comatose, and blood spots appear on the skin (hemorrhagic purpura, cf. Black Death).

Patients suffering from pneumonic plague look seriously ill. During the course of the plague, delirium, rapid breathing, coughing, bloody sputum and a blue-tinged coloration of the mucous membranes and skin (cyanosis) may occur.

The diagnosis can be verified by a rapid test with a high degree of certainty. The test detects both bubonic plague and pneumonic plague, as well as plague bacteria in animals.


All patients suspected of having plague and showing signs of pneumonic plague must undergo antibiotic treatment and be isolated for 2-3 days from the start of treatment. If plague is suspected, antibiotic treatment should be started as soon as possible. In cases of pneumonic plague, it is recommended that treatment begin within 15 hours (from the onset of fever) to achieve the desired effect.

The drug treatment consists of antibiotics.

Plague deximed german expert information medicine

Illustration photo: Colourbox

Household members must be quarantined for 7 days. Treated patients are strictly isolated for 3 days from the start of treatment. The most important measure to prevent the spread of the infection is the control of the rat and flea population. During epidemics or visits to endemic areas, preventive medications are available.

There is a vaccine, but it provides only partial protection.


Plague is one of the most pathogenic and deadly infectious diseases in existence. If left untreated, the lethality rate for bubonic plague is about 50%, while for pneumonic plague it is 100%. Treatment with the right antibiotics and other supportive care measures reduces lethality to less than 5%. Patients who survive the disease develop immunity to it.

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