Yersinia pestis infection classification

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Assistant Editors-In-Chief: Esther Lee, M.A.; Rim Halaby, M.D. [2]; Alison Leibowitz [3]


The classification of plague depends on the mode of infection and the clinical syndrome. Plague can be classified into bubonic plague, septicemic plague, or pneumonic plague.


Bubonic Plague

Bubonic plague is transmitted by flea bite or direct contamination of an open skin lesion by plague-infected material. The infection spreads to the regional lymph nodes causing inflammation and swelling in one or several nodes (buboes).[1]

Pneumonic Plague

Pneumonic plague occurs in two distinct and epidemiologically significant forms.[1]

Septicemic Plague

Septicemic plague can be primary or secondary to bubonic plague. Primary septicemic plague is a progressive, overwhelming bloodstream infection with Y. pestis in the apparent absence of a primary lymphadenopathy.[1]

Other Types of Plagues


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Plague Manual: Epidemiology, Distribution, Surveillance. World Health Organization. Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response and Control. WHO/CDS/CSR/EDC/99.2

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