Plague Symptoms and Treatment

Also known as: bubonic plague, Yersinia pestis infection.

What is the plague?

Plague is best known historically for killing millions of Europeans during the Middle Ages. The disease still exists today, but it is extremely uncommon in the US, less than 10-15 cases per year. There has not been cases of Florida reported Plague cases in many years. Plague is easier to treat now with common antibiotics than in the early 1900s when it was deadly.

What causes plague?

Plague is caused by bacteria known as Yersinia pestis. It can be passed from animals to humans if a human is bitten by a flea carrying the bacteria. Rodents or other animals infected with the plague can also pass the disease to humans.

What are the plague symptoms?

Symptoms can vary slightly based on the exact nature of the disease. Common symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Weakness
  • Fever
  • Swollen Lymph Nodes
  • Cough

As the disease progresses, it can cause:

  • Chest pain
  • Internal bleeding
  • Death of tissue
  • Respiratory failure
  • shock

And other severe symptoms. Death can result without treatment.

What are plague treatments?

Patients with suspected plague should be diagnosed and treated with a course of antibiotics as quickly as possible. Outcomes are best when the disease is detected and treated early.


Reviewed by: Dr. P Marcelo Laufer

This page was last updated on: 10/4/2019 11:55:11 AM