treated. It is characterized by violent coughing. The septicemic plague is another form of the disease that occurs without the development of buboes. “The bacteria go directly through the bloodstream to the liver, spleen, and the lungs” 6 . It is characterized by fever, chills, headache, and massive hemorrhaging. “It often causes death within 24 hours” 7 . Even though morbidity from the plague was significantly reduced in the 20 th century it still remains an epidemic in regions of Africa, Asia, and North and South America. “Between 5 6 Stephen Pearson, Bubonic Plague: The Black Death! (New York: Bearport Publishing, 2011), ? [email protected]&vid=2&format=EB&rid=1 , 13. 7 “Plague,” in Britannica Concise Encyclopedia 2014 , ed Encyclopedia Britannica (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica) http:// search.credoreference.com/content/entry/ebconcise/plague/0
4 1987 and 2001 there were outbreaks in at least 14 countries, with 38,876 cases and 2847 deaths reported to the World Health Organization, usually as a result of exposure to fleas” 8 . According to the CDC, on average 13 plague cases are reported in the United States each year, and 14% of these are fatal. Without treatment, the bubonic plague has a mortality rate of 60%, pneumonic plague has a mortality rate of 95%, and septicemic plague has a mortality rate of 100%. For many centuries doctors did not know how to treat plague victims. Some doctors tried draining buboes. “Others believed that making patients sweat or bleed might force the disease to leave their bodies” 9 . None of these treatments had an effect on the plague bacteria. In the 1940s doctors developed antibiotics which can be used to kill the bacteria that causes the plague. Tetracycline can be used to prevent the plague and chloramphenicol is used to treat it. “No antibiotic resistance has been reported” 10 . There is no vaccine against the plague at this time. “Formalin- killed whole-cell vaccines used in the United States from 1946 onward were discontinued after 1999” 11 Even though this vaccine protected against the bubonic plague, it provided little protection against the pneumonic or septicemic plague and there where harmful side effects. 8 Irwin W. Sherman. “Bubonic Plague” in Encyclopedia of Insects 2009 , ed. Vincent H. Resh and Ring T. Carde (Oxford: Elsevier Science & Technology) 9 Stephen Pearson, Bubonic Plague: The Black Death! (New York: Bearport Publishing, 2011), ?
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