What are the Different Bubonic Plague Symptoms?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 26 May 2018
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Bubonic plague symptoms may emerge if a person is infected with the bacteria that causes it, which is usually transmitted via fleas from animals that carry it, like rats. At one time, this illness was incurable and often resulted in death, but antibiotics are now employed as treatment and can be of great use in curing many cases of it. They tend to work best if a person is diagnosed early, and therefore, understanding early bubonic plague symptoms is valuable.

In most people, the incubation period from exposure to infection is about three to four days, but may be as few as two days or as many as six. Anyone who gets a fleabite, particularly if they are regularly around rodents that might carry the illness, should merely take note of this fact. Once the infection manifests in the body, several symptoms of bubonic plague suggest seeing a doctor immediately.

The early bubonic plague symptoms include very noted swelling and tenderness of the lymph nodes, especially those around the neck, the groin and in the armpits. Size of lymph nodes can vary, but they can become several inches in diameter in the most severe cases. Most people also have a variety of flu symptoms that include fever, achiness, chills, and headache. The stomach tends to hurt and it may be upset, causing nausea and/or vomiting, plus diarrhea, which may be bloody.


At this point, bubonic plague symptoms can diversify and some people develop additional infections. Pneumonia may occur and sufferers could have strong cough, difficulty breathing, or some people cough up blood or go into respiratory failure or distress. The bacteria may also create meningitis, and symptoms of this include extremely sore neck, high fever, intense headache and displays of confusion or lack of consciousness.

The extent of bubonic plague symptoms typically takes people to the doctor early after the illness occurs, but if people remain untreated, symptoms can far worsen and risk to life greatly increases. As the bacteria ravage the body, spreading out from the lymph nodes, septicemia or blood infection occurs. All systems of the body may begin to be compromised, and tend to worsen. New symptoms at this point can include confusion, delirium, changes in heart rhythm, complete weakness, failure of the organs, and ultimately death.

Though bubonic plague symptoms do not occur with as great regularity as they once did, and there is treatment for this illness, complacency about it is not recommended. People should be aware of these symptoms. They should, moreover, recognize that seeking medical help early improves survival rate from this condition.



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