Assignment: Plague Outbreak

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Assignment: Plague Outbreak

Assignment: Plague Outbreak

Plague Outbreak

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Plague is a disease that affects humans and other mammals that is caused by the bacterium, Yersinia pestis (CDC). People typically get plague through a flea from a rodent that is carrying the bacterium. If the plague is pneumonic, it can be spread from person to person through droplets when they cough. Plague has become well known for killing millions of people in Europe during the Middle Ages. While modern medicine has become effective in treating plague, it can cause serious illness or death without proper treatment.

Plague can manifest in three main clinical forms, bubonic, pneumonic, and septicemic. Bubonic plague is characterized by patients suddenly developing fever, headache, chills, weakness, and at least one swollen and painful lymph node. The bacteria will multiply in the lymph nodes closest to where it entered the body. Septicemic plague will cause all of the same symptoms as bubonic, while also causing abdominal pain, shock, and possibly bleeding into the skin or other organs. This may cause skin and other organs to turn black and die, with the fingers, nose, and toes being the most common places for this to occur. This form of plague typically develops as a result of untreated bubonic plague. The most serious form of plague is pneumonic plague. This is the only form of the disease that can be spread from person to person, through infectious droplets. Infected people will have all of the same symptoms of bubonic plague, along with a rapidly developing pneumonia, which can lead to respiratory failure and shock.

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I chose to write about the 2017 plague outbreak in Madagascar after reading the article, “The 2017 Plague Outbreak in Madagascar: Data Descriptions and Epidemic Modeling” by Van Kinh Nguyen, Cesar Parra-Rojas, and Esteban A. Hernandez-Vargas. This article was published in December 2018 and addressed the concern of the plague outbreak in 2017. Plague is endemic to Madagascar and occurs annually; however, the 2017 outbreak was the most severe in history. There were a total of 2,417 cases confirmed, with 209 people dying from the disease. Through response by the World Health Organization and the government of Madagascar, this outbreak was able to be stopped. By strengthening the identification and treatment of plague cases, many deaths can be prevented (Nguyen, 2018). In the rural areas of Madagascar, it is important to teach people how to control their interactions with rodents and their fleas, as this is the most common way that plague is spread. Lastly, it was very important to teach people to practice safe and dignified burials of corpses.

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