Hcs 245 Bubonic Plague Intro to Health and Disease

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Bubonic Plague
University of Phoenix
Introduction to Health and Disease
HCS 245
March 03, 2013

Bubonic Plague
The bubonic plague seems to refer to an era long passed. Associated with the filthy living conditions of industrial Europe in the 14th century its beginnings are centuries prior in the Roman Empire. The Plague of Justinian is the first well documented pandemic of the bubonic plague and “it killed up to 10,000 people a day”("Bubonic plague," n.d., 1). When the plague struck Asia and Europe “an estimated 25 million people”("Bubonic plague," n.d., 2) were killed. No specific races or ethnicities are more or less susceptible to the bubonic plague. Populations exposed to poor living conditions in overcrowded areas with little to no sanitation to remove waste are still at higher risk of contracting bubonic plague. Bubonic plague is a worldwide population risk. Describe the disease.

Bubonic plague is a bacterial infection caused by Yersinia pestis. This disease attacks the lymph system, especially the groin and armpit areas, causing painful swelling to the affected areas. The swollen lymph nodes are called buboes, which the name bubonic plague is derived from. The disease can progress into septicemic plague, in the blood, and pneumonic plague, in the lungs. Describe the factors that make this particular population vulnerable to the disease.

The worldwide population is vulnerable to this disease because if the disease gets to the pneumonic phase it is transmitted through the air and more people are infected. The bubonic plague is a very rapid disease with the beginning symptoms showing within seven to ten days of exposure. With the ease of modern transportation the ability for this disease to resurface are great. Describe environmental factors that make the population vulnerable to the disease.

Environmental factors that make the world’s population vulnerable to bubonic plague continue to remain in poor countries that are not able to provide proper sanitation systems to remove waste. Rodent control is also an environmental factor that makes the world’s population vulnerable to bubonic plague. What are the modes of transmission?

Bubonic plague is a zoonotic disease that mainly stays between small rodents and the fleas they carry. Zoonotic as defined by Webster’s Dictionary is “a disease communicable from animals to humans under natural conditions”("Definition," 2012, p. 1). When the fleas feed of the rodent, they contract the disease. When the rodent dies, the fleas must find a new host to feed off. When the fleas feed off the new rodent, the disease is then transmitted to the new rodent. This repetitive process happens quickly because the bubonic plague is a rapidly progressing disease and this causes the rapid spread of the disease in rodents. In large crowded populations, such as overcrowded cities, where rodents are prevalent among humans the fleas have the ease of moving to human hosts as the rodent population die off from the plague. This is how the disease is transmitted to humans. Humans can only transmit the disease to other humans if the disease has progressed to the pneumonic plague phase. In this phase the human has come down with pneumonia and the disease is spread thru airborne droplets from the coughing caused by the pneumonia. What methods are used to control the spread of the disease?

When the bubonic plague first emerged in Roman Empire, the disease spread quickly between port cities because the diseased rodents migrated with the ships. As the population realized there was a problem cities started implementing laws that restricted the reentry back into a city if the person had traveled to a known infected city. Ships were hastily ran out of the port city to help stop the spread of the disease. These early attempts at isolation did little to stop the spread of the disease because the focus was on humans and not the rodents carrying the infected fleas. The disease...
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