Reviewed: December 2016

Plague is a severe disease that affects humans and other mammals and is caused by an infection with a type of bacteria, Yersinia pestis. Plague occurs naturally in the western United States and is transmitted by the bite of an infected flea, handling infected animals, or inhaling droplets from the cough of an infected person or animal. Plague in humans can require strict isolation and disinfection procedures for infected individuals. The disease is rare in the United States, with an average of seven cases reported each year. Exposure to plague is typically limited to the western and southwestern parts of the country.

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