WANTED: The Black Plague

Yersinia Pestis

Mug Shot

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Since Yersinia Pestis is a bacterium which means it has a cell wall, cell membrane, genetic material, ribosomes, and a cytoplasm. Yersinia Pestis also has pili on the ends to bind to cells so they can inject toxins to kill the cells.

Victim Under Attack

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Yersinia Pestus can attack your body in three different ways. It comes from a bacterium in rats and can travel through other rodents and fleas. It can infect you when a flea, or infected rodent bits you. It can attack your circulatory system (septicemic plague), respiratory system (pneumonic plague), and lymphatic system (bubonic plague). I am focusing on the bubonic plague, the most common of the three. When the bacteria enters the body, it infects the lymph nodes and spleen. It will attack the innate immune system by releasing toxins into macrophages, neutrophils, and dendrite cells that kill the cell.


This bacteria can travel in multiple different animals. It travels through all rodents, including prairie dogs, squirrels, rats, and mice. It can also enter your home through fleas. All ages are liable to be infected by the bacterium but your chances are higher if you travel, or live in rural and unsanitary areas or have a certain occupation. People who are exterminators, dog/cat breeders, dog/cat groomers, or vets have a higher chance of getting infected.


Some symptoms depend on the type of infection you have, but most all the time, Yersinia Pestis starts our as just flu-like symptoms. As it progresses the symptoms worsen. You will start to get buboes, or inflamed lymph nodes near your arm pit and groin areas. As the infection worsens, the boboes would spread across your body. Headaches, fever, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea will start to happen. Your skin may start to rot (septicemic) or you may start to cough up blood (pneumonic). Pneumonic plague is also very likely to lead to pneumonia. Eventually you will start to have seizures and then if it goes untreated you would probably die.


Yersinia Pestis is a bacterium that comes form rats, but can be transmitted through other animals, but specifically fleas. The disease is usually found in rural or semi-rural areas where there is little sanitation. It is found in the southwestern part of the United States. It is also found in Africa and parts of Asia and South America.
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You can defend yourself from contracting the bacteria by spraying your pet with flea repellent spray, and vacuuming your house periodically to keep fleas out. You can also call an exterminator every once in a while to make sure that rats haven't nested in your house. There is a vaccine, but it is not good for long term protection and isn't very reliable. If you do end up being infected with Yersinia Pestis, there is an antibiotic you should take right away. Although these can all prevent you from being harmed by this bacterium, there is still an 11% mortality rate, and people in the world still die from this yearly.