A case of bubonic plague has been declared, should we be worried?

The plague is back. Although this bacterial disease wreaked havoc during the Middle Ages, killing a third of the world’s population, it is much less dangerous today. Although it is almost non-existent, a few isolated cases still appear in the world.

The case is of an American in Oregon who was infected by his cat. According to American doctors, this is the first case of plague in the state in almost a decade. Although the medical teams took the case very seriously, the patient still seems to be fine “Respond well to treatment” And his life is not in danger, according to a hospital press release.

What is the plague?

Although we are no longer used to dealing with it in our daily lives, the plague is one of the worst diseases in human history. The disease is bacterial, so it depends directly on other living organisms, Yersinia pestis. Depending on how a person is infected, the symptoms and treatment will not be the same.

In the case discovered in Oregon, it was the so-called “bubonic” plague. The infection then came from a flea, which had previously fed on the blood of another infected animal. Once present in our body, the bacteria gather at our lymph nodes. This is characterized by inflammation of these same lymph nodes after the bubonic plague.

If the bacteria do not reach the lymph nodes, but the lungs, it will be a question of pneumonic plague. In rare cases, the bacteria enter the bloodstream, causing septicemic plague.

How is plague treated?

If the plague was a real reaper during the Middle Ages, things have changed a lot since the 19th century. Indeed, the discovery of antibiotics by Alexander Fleming made it possible to develop an effective treatment against the plague. Since this disease is bacterial, it can be quickly treated with antibiotic solution.

Regarding this new patient in Oregon, the medical teams assure that he is still under treatment to avoid the slightest risk of the disease returning. In the fifties this man developed bubonic plague before initially seeing the bacteria take hold in his blood system.

Despite the doctors’ efforts, the patient developed symptoms consistent with pneumonic plague during his stay in the hospital, although a clear diagnosis could not be made. Pneumonic plague is undoubtedly the most dangerous of the three, as it is highly contagious to other humans.

Will the plague make its comeback?

While the disease appears to be behind us, the plague may return to the forefront in the coming decades. In fact, scientists believe that global warming will allow the bacteria Yersinia pestis Develop more easily.

According to an international study published in 2006, global warming is already allowing the population of bacteria associated with plague to increase. by 50%. Although the plague now makes headlines, it may have been reported in between 50,000 people Between 1990 and 2020, according to WHO figures. These cases are mainly located in sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia.

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