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Plague  Lesson 1
 General Overview

Epidemiology – Transmission

  • Transmission occurs through:
    • the bite of an infected flea,
    • respiratory droplets, or
    • direct contact with a patient infected with pneumonic plague.
  • Transmission by direct skin or mucous membrane contact with tissues and fluids of infected animals is less common.
  • Infection via inhalation of infective respiratory droplets or aerosols is rare with naturally occurring plague in the United States, but is the most likely route of transmission in a bioterrorist event.
  • Becoming infected via inhalation requires direct and close (within 6 feet) contact with an ill person or animal and has not occurred in the United States for decades.
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Close contact is within 6 feet.
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Page last reviewed February 12, 2007
Page last modified September 7, 2004

  • Content source: CDC Emergency Risk Communication Branch (ERCB), Division of Emergency Operations (DEO), National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID)
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