Monday, April 30, 2012


The plague is a disease which has never concerned me.  I have not taken the time to think twice about its effects as it was a major cause of death many years ago in unsanitary times. Yet according to the article “Antibiotic for plague approved by the FDA” posted on the CBS news website, we should still be aware of its detrimental consequences.
An outbreak of the plague could be extremely deadly as concerns have arisen that it could be used in a bioterror attack. Because of these concerns US regulators have approved a very powerful antibiotic to prevent and treat this rare bacterial infection. The plague is a deadly disease one that is mainly present in animals.  It causes swollen lymph glands, fever, headache, chills and weakness. Humans contract this infection through animal contact or bites from infected fleas with there being only about 1000 cases in humans worldwide each year.

There are three types of the plague: bubonic (most common) which occurs from a flea bite, septicemic which happens when Y pestis bacteria multiply in the blood and pneumonic.  The centers for disease control and prevention are worried about pneumonic plague being spread (the only type that is contagious) in a bioterrorism act. The plague bacteria can be used in an aerosol attack which affects individuals who inhale it directly. The worst part and biggest concern is the fact that individuals who breathe in this bacterium may not have pneumonic plague until 6 days later leading to a major spreading issue as controlling the disease would then become a lot more difficult.

The last urban plague epidemic in the US happened in 1924 in Los Angeles, California, and since then only about 10 to 15 people contract it in the US each year. It is crazy to think that the plague could be used as a bioterrorism act, yet I am glad officials have taken extreme lengths to make sure an epidemic like this does not occur.

Tara Reynolds (3)


  1. The fact that terrorists are now thinking of using this bacteria as a weapon make it seem as though instead of one-upping each other with machinery and technology, people are now turning to biology for the next big weapon. This, in my opinion, is scarier than a big gun. Even though such a small percentage of the world's population are affected by this disease, it is comforting to know that the FDA is on top of things and already making an antibiotic before an actual disaster occurs.

    Posted By Erica Bonnell(1)

    1. it is crazy to think that people have actually thought of using the plague as a terrorist attack. Although I do not see this actually happening, I agree that it is much more comforting to know that the FDA have taken major precautions to protect the US.