Journal Article

Risk of Person-to-Person Transmission of Pneumonic Plague

Jacob L. Kool and Robert A. Weinstein

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 40, issue 8, pages 1166-1172
Published in print April 2005 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online April 2005 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/428617
Risk of Person-to-Person Transmission of Pneumonic Plague

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Immunology
  • Public Health and Epidemiology
  • Microbiology

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

Plague has received much attention because it may be used as a weapon by terrorists. Intentionally released aerosols of Yersinia pestis would cause pneumonic plague. In order to prepare for such an event, it is important, particularly for medical personnel and first responders, to form a realistic idea of the risk of person-to-person spread of infection. Historical accounts and contemporary experience show that pneumonic plague is not as contagious as it is commonly believed to be. Persons with plague usually only transmit the infection when the disease is in the endstage, when infected persons cough copious amounts of bloody sputum, and only by means of close contact. Before antibiotics were available for postexposure prophylaxis for contacts, simple protective measures, such as wearing masks and avoiding close contact, were sufficient to interrupt transmission during pneumonic plague outbreaks. In this article, I review the historical literature and anecdotal evidence regarding the risk of transmission, and I discuss possible protective measures.

Journal Article.  4406 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.