Author(s): Centers for Disease Control
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Abstract Plague is a life-threatening fleaborne disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. The most common clinical form is bubonic plague, which is characterized by high fever and regional lymphadenitis. Without treatment, infection can spread from lymph nodes to the lungs, resulting in pneumonic plague and the potential for person-to-person transmission through respiratory droplets. In November 2006, the Uganda Ministry of Health received reports of an increase in bubonic plague cases and a possible outbreak of pneumonic plague among residents in the Arua and Nebbi districts. In response, the Uganda Ministry of Health and CDC conducted a joint investigation in the two districts during November 28-December 30, 2006. Overall, 127 clinical plague cases were identified, along with evidence of a focal pneumonic outbreak in Nebbi District. Median age of the patients was 14 years (range: 2 weeks-65 years); 65 (51\%) were female. Twenty-eight (22\%) of the 127 patients died. Among the 102 patients with documented symptoms, 90 (88\%) had bubonic plague, and 12 (12\%) had pneumonic plague. The results of this investigation underscore the need to 1) continue efforts to educate residents of rural Uganda regarding the source, signs, and symptoms of plague and the life-saving importance of seeking treatment; 2) strengthen plague surveillance and diagnostic capabilities; and 3) improve emergency response and vector-control capacity, especially in remote regions of the country.
This article was published in MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals