The Pest Control Blog North America

Rats, Fleas and The Plague

Dog Fleas The media widely reported that a man in Oregon had contracted the plague after being bitten by a mouse. The Plague is a bacterial disease carried by rodents. It is spread from one rodent to another by fleas. Humans bitten by an infected flea usually develop a bubonic form of plague which is characterized by a swelling of the lymph node draining the flea bite site.

If the bacteria reach the lungs, the patient develops pneumonia (pneumonic plague), which is then transmissible from person to person through infected droplets spread by coughing. Initial symptoms of bubonic plague appear 7–10 days after infection.

If diagnosed early, bubonic plague can be successfully treated with antibiotics. Pneumonic plague, on the other hand, is one of the most deadly infectious diseases; patients can die 24 hours after infection. The mortality rate depends on how soon treatment is started, but is always very high.

Plague outbreaks in the US are very rare; on average 10-20 people a year diagnosed. In the past decade there have been plague outbreaks in Africa, China and Peru. The last outbreak recorded by the WHO was in August 2010 and identified 10 strains of Y. pestis from humans, rodents and domestic cats. Rentokil are currently working on a project in Africa clearing the desert of plague infested rats. Good hygiene practice and pest control is essential for the prevention of any disease.

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4 Comments

  1. Posted June 26, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    What is amazing to me is that with all of the advances in science, we still haven’t managed to eliminate this age old problem! At least infections seem to be fairly rare according to your article.

  2. Posted June 27, 2012 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    The flea is a commonly known pest. Many people associate fleas with pets, never thinking that they too can become victims to these annoying creatures.

  3. Mike
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    I learn something about fleas everyday.thank you

  4. Pest Control Drymast
    Posted September 25, 2012 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    When they enter homes or even business premises in search of food and water can fast become pests. They are highly destructive and consume over 20% of the world’s grain supply and contaminate much more. These pests are responsible for millions of dollars worth of damages each year to buildings, food, documents, food items and clothing. If you do not have your household or business premises protected from Rats, Mice or Any type of pests it might cost you a lot.

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