• David T. Dennis
  • J. Erin Staples

Historical epidemics of plague spread rapidly. Attack rates and fatality ratios were high: 50–60% of bubonic patients died; pneumonic and septicemic patients almost invariably experienced a fulminant, fatal course. Prevention measures seemed futile, and epidemics understandably caused panic and upheaval. Even today, despite the availability of curative antibiotics and effective control measures, plague provokes alarm and irrational responses. The increasing concern with bioterrorism and the designation of Y. pestis as a Category A select agent have led to renewed concerns about the disease.(1,2)


Ground Squirrel Yersinia Pestis Flea Species Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome Neutrophilic Phagocytosis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Suggested Reading

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  5. Gregg, C. T., Plague, an Ancient Disease in the Twentieth Century, rev. ed., University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1985. (Interesting overview of some epidemiological aspects of plague in the United States, with selected case histories.)Google Scholar
  6. Inglesby, T. V., Dennis, D. T., Henderson, D. A., et al., Plague as a Biologic Weapon: Medical and Public Health Management, JAMA 283(17): 2281–2290. (Consensus statement including a concise review of the various aspect of plague disease and recommendations following the use of plague as a biologic weapon.)Google Scholar
  7. Link, V. B., A History of Plague in the United States of America, Public Health Monograph No. 26, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC (1955). (Excellent history of the introduction and spread of plague in the United States in the early part of the 20th century, with fascinating descriptions of human plague outbreaks in California.)Google Scholar
  8. Pollitzer, R., Plague, WHO Monogr. Ser. 22 (1954). (Outdated, but still the most comprehensive plague reference book, with details on the history of plague and documented descriptions of the clinical, epidemiological, ecological prevention and control aspects of plague in the 20th century up until about 1950.)Google Scholar
  9. Wu Lien-Teh, A Treatise on Pneumonic Plague, League of Nations Health Organization, Geneva (1926). (A compendium of all information known on pneumonic plague at the time of writing, with descriptions of occurrences throughout the world, and especially the extraordinary Manchurian epidemics of 1910 and 1920.)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • David T. Dennis
    • 1
  • J. Erin Staples
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Vector-Borne DiseasesNational Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Service, US Department of Health and Human ServicesFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.Division of Vector-Borne DiseasesNational Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Service, US Department of Health and Human ServicesFort CollinsUSA

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