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Epidemiology

  • Thomas Butler
Part of the Current Topics in Infectious Disease book series (CTID)

Abstract

Plague is a zoonotic infection, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. It is transmitted among the natural animal reservoirs, which are predominantly urban and sylvatic rodents (i.e., living in cities or the country), through vector flea bites or ingestion of contaminated animal tissues by the host. The cycle of infection is shown schematically in Figure 3.1. Throughout the world, the urban and domestic rats, Rattus rattus and Rattus norvegicus, are the most important reservoirs of the plague bacillus. Sylvatic plague is present in the United States, and examples of the variety of wild rodent reservoirs are itemized in Figure 3.1. Man is an accidental host in the natural cycle of plague, when he is bitten by an infected rodent flea, and appears to play no role in the maintenance of Y. pestis in nature. Only rarely, during epidemics of pneumonic plague, is the infection believed to be passed directly from man to man. Also rarely, man can develop infection by the direct handling of contaminated animal tissues.

Keywords

Ground Squirrel Human Case Yersinia Enterocolitica Yersinia Pestis Animal Reservoir 
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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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Butler
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.International Center for Diarrhoeal ResearchDhakaBangladesh
  2. 2.Case Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

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