Last updated:09-05-2008
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Definition and causes

Plague is a very serious disease. It is due to infection with the bacteriumYersinia pestis. It connects most of the major disease epidemic, "The black death", Which killed about a third of the population of Europe at the end of the 1300 figure. Copenhagen also had a large epidemic in 1711, where almost a third of the population died. Today, the disease primarily in Central Asia, the Far East and the United States. In Denmark seen plague today only very rarely and is always imported.

The disease spread to humans via fleas from rodents, primarily the brown rat.

It divides the plague in three different types, based on how the infection are:

  • Bubonic plague: Bacteria in the lymph nodes, over 80 of the cases.

  • Viral infection . Bacteria in the blood, seen as primærinfektion with just over 10%, but appears in many of untreated bubonic plague.

  • Lungepest: Looking at a few percent in total. Coming after secondary spread from blood poisoning, or as the more serious primary lungepest or inhalationspest that can spread from person to person through airborne droplets from, for example. host and newly.

Symptoms of the plague, progress and complications

The symptoms vary depending on how the infection develops, and the type of plague subsequently develops. The symptoms usually develop in the course of 3-4 days, however, faster (one to two days) in primary lungepest.

In the few cases of plague will only prove to be a small inflammation around bidstedet. There might be. seen central redness, and red streaks emanating from bidstedet. The many mistakenly refer to as blood poisoning, caused by the bacteria spread by the superficial lymfekar, and it gives the red lines.

In most cases, untreated infection will spread to nearby lymph nodes with inflammation as a result. Knuderne will raise up to large abscesses of 5-10 cm in size (of which bubonic plague). Subsequently, the bacteria can spread to blood, which they in turn can spread to the lungs. When all the forms seen:

  • High fever with chills.

  • Fatigue.

  • Nausea and vomiting.

  • Myalgia.

  • Headache.

  • Diarrhoea.

  • Blødningstendens.

Specific symptoms of bubonic plague

  • Raised and sore lymph nodes (mainly in lysker, in armhuler and neck).

  • Blødende necrosis (areas of dead tissue) in the lymph nodes.

Viral infection

  • Low blood pressure (see septic shock ).

  • Diffuse necrosis and gangrene.

  • A few percentage develops meningitis.


  • Fast developed pneumonia.

  • Acute indsættende high fever.

  • Cough with bloody opspyt.

  • Hvæsende breathing.

  • Iltmangel with cyanosis (blåfarvning of the skin due to low oxygen content in the blood - it was this and bleeds, which gave the plague called "The Black Death")).

  • Shock .

Precautions and diagnosis

If you are in areas with plague, we must try to avoid loppebid and stay away from rodents, particularly if they see sick or dead.

The diagnosis made by Monday showing bacteria in the lymph nodes, blood or opspyt (by lungepest)

Treatment of plague

Earlier died around. half of those who were infected, and up to 100% by lungepest. However, after the development of antibiotics, this has changed radically, and by the rapid start-up of treatment is forecast today good. But there is still a high mortality rate associated with lungepest.





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