Plague and Animals
What is plague?
Plague is a rare bacterial disease caused by Yersinia pestis (yer-SIN-ee-ah PEST-iss). People usually show symptoms 2 to 6 days after getting plague. Symptoms include fever, chills, weakness, and swollen and painful lymph nodes. A few people get pneumonia (infection of the lungs) as a first symptom of plague. The infection then spreads to other parts of the body. If this disease is not treated right away, many people who get sick will not survive.
Can animals transmit plague to me?
Yes, people can get plague from an infected animal, but this is very rare. Rodents (for example, mice, rats, and squirrels) and cats are animals that can carry plague. This disease most often occurs in the southwestern part of the United States. Usually, people get plague from the bite of an infected flea. Since fleas bite both people and animals, especially cats and rodents, an infected flea can pass plague to animals or people. Sometimes, people get plague from working with an animal that is infected. People also can get infected by breathing in tiny droplets of water contaminated with Y. pestis.
How can I protect myself against plague?