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Plague  Lesson 1
 General Overview

Bioterrorism Scenario- Aerosolized Y. pestis

  • If Y. pestis were to be used as a bioweapon, it would be most dangerous if released as an aerosol. An aerosol release would be expected to result in an outbreak of the pneumonic form of plague.
    • Aerosolized Y. pestis would be most likely to cause the pneumonic form of plague, which is highly lethal and contagious.
    • Aerosolized Y. pestis may also cause the less common pharyngeal plague and ocular plague.
    • An immediate and coordinated public health and medical response would be required in the event of the intentional use of plague. Therefore, any case of plague should be reported to the state health department immediately. Reporting is especially important when a case of plague occurs outside of a typically affected area.
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Plague aerosol cloud over family at a picnic.

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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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