Plague is a currently rare but serious bacterial infection that is transmitted mostly by fleas. There are three types of this disease: bubonic, septicemic and pneumonic plague and all of them have common symptoms such as fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes and headaches.
Although plague is not a deadly threat nowadays as it was many decades ago, recent research conducted by a team of medical experts shows that the disease has become resistant to antibiotics. Plague is considered as a category A pathogen, i.e. biological agents or organisms that pose the highest national security and public health risk. A study done on plague indicates that the disease not only results in high rates of mortality, but it also disrupts social life and causes public panic. A plague outbreak is now considered an international threat in some countries around the world. So how can plague be prevented?
Well, some of the most common methods of ensuring you don't contract this communicable disease are:
1. Take all the necessary precautions against flea-bites by eliminating fleas around your house. You can use flea repellents in order to prevent flea bites.
2. Avoid touching infected people and animals. Do not allow pets such as cats and dogs which roam freely in high-risk endemic areas to sleep on your furniture or bed. Do not touch tissues or body fluids from a plague infected person or animal, and if you must, then ensure that you wear rubber gloves.
3. Avoid rodents (especially rats and mice) and their droppings. Rodents are the common hosts of the plague causing bacterium, Yersinia pestis. To the extent feasible, eliminate shelters and food sources for rodents in and around your house.
4. Health workers and caregivers who have direct contact with plague patients should ensure that they put on personal protective gears. Health workers should be given chemoprophylaxis together with antibiotics as long as they are exposed to any sources of the disease.
5. Taking certain antibiotics is looked upon as a potent preventive measure for those at a high risk of getting infected. Taking them before one gets sick can prevent the disease even after the bacteria has already gotten inside one’s body.
Although a plague vaccine is no longer available in the US, the growing number of incidence indicates that a new vaccine could soon be developed; although it is not expected to be commercially available to the public in the nearest future.