Rodents, Rabbits, and Others
- Rodents or rabbits that are kept as pets are likely to be
susceptible to plague and, once infected with Y. pestis,
could serve as sources of infection for humans who handle these
- The most likely scenario for the spread of disease in a bioterrorist
event would be during an indoor aerosol release. Rodent populations
would be expected to become infected through inhalation of the
aerosol or by eating contaminated foods within a few hours of
release. This would result in a rapid spread in the rodent population.
As the rodents died, their fleas would jump hosts and be capable
of infecting other animals and humans.
- Domestic ferrets appear to be relatively resistant to plague
when inoculated subcutaneously, but their susceptibility to
respiratory routes of infection has not been examined.
- Birds, reptiles and fish are considered to be completely resistant
to Y. pestis infection.