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Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What is plague?

Plague is a life-threatening disease caused by bacteria. Plague is found in rodents, such as rats, prairie dogs, and squirrels. Plague spreads through direct contact with an infected animal or person. Plague may also spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

What are the signs and symptoms of plague?

Symptoms begin 2 to 8 days after infection with the bacteria. You may have the following:

How is plague diagnosed?

Tell your healthcare provider if you have traveled in the past 10 days. Tell your provider if you have had contact with a person or animal who may have plague. A sample of blood, mucus from your lungs, or tissue from your lymph node will show if you have plague. Your provider must make a diagnosis quickly because the disease is life-threatening. Your provider may start treatment based on your symptoms and if you have recently been in an area with infected rodents.

How is plague treated?

Antibiotics treat the bacterial infection.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Learn more about Plague

Treatment options

Symptoms and treatments guides (external)

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.