Image of the Week: Plague

This week’s image shows us everyone’s favorite scourge – plague! Depicted below is Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of plague, sticking to  the spines of a flea. Throughout history, Y. pestis has contributed to some of the most serious pandemics, at one point killing nearly half of Europe’s population. While plague still pops up occasionally (it’s endemic in the prairie dog population of the American Southwest), prompt treatment with antibiotics prevents serious illness. However, in aerosol form, unless antibiotics are administered in the first 24 hours, infection is almost always fatal. This is a big part of why Y.pestis is considered a potential bioterrorist agent.

Image: NIAID
Image: NIAID

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s