The illness caused by Yersinia pestis has had a few names, the Black Death, the Bubonic Plague, the End of the World. We all know the signs – painful pustules (buboes) near the lymph nodes, fever, chills, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and often death. But let’s not forget the other forms of plague. I’m speaking, of course, about septicemic plague and pneumonic plague.
When the bubonic plague invades the bloodstream, things go septic. Septicemic plague is even more deadly than the bubonic version. Victims can become delirious and their other symptoms are even more acute.
Ten to twenty percent of bubonic plague cases reach the lungs to become pneumonic plague. This is one of the deadliest and most easily transmitted forms of plague. Even with treatment, pneumonic plague kills about seventy five percent of its victims. Sufferers cough up blood, have difficulty breathing, and often develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
And now we know! Hooray!