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Plague  Lesson 2
 Clinical Presentation

Septicemic Plague

Septicemic plague is usually associated with hunting and skinning of animals. It can also occur secondary to bubonic and pneumonic plague. It has the following characteristics:

  • Incubation Period- Occurs when plague bacteria multiply in the blood. Most commonly, septicemic plague presents as a complication of pneumonic or bubonic plague, but primary septicemic plague can occur.
  • Symptoms- Acute onset of fever, chills, prostration, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Progression of Disease- As the disease progresses, purpura may develop, as well as possible disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). Eventually, hypotension and other signs of shock appear. Septicemic plague is often fatal even when treated.
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Plague septicemia causing abnormal coagulation in blood vessels of fingers.
Plague septicemia causing abnormal coagulation in blood vessels of fingers.

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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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