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Bubonic Plague

  • By: Lilia Malkin-Dubins
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

Bubonic plague is the most common and well-known manifestation of plague: a bacterial infection in humans. This disease has affected human populations for thousands of years. When not treated promptly, it is often fatal. At present, if appropriate medical care is available—including timely antibiotic therapy—most patients survive the illness. Although plague has not been widespread globally in recent centuries, it has generated new concerns as a possible agent for use in biological weapons.

Throughout recorded history, there have been several pandemics attributed to plague. Although the exact diagnosis remains uncertain, the first recorded occurrence may have been in 14th century. At least three global plague pandemics occurred in the past 1,500 years: Justinian's Plague in 6th century, Black Death in the 14th century, and the last ...

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