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Plague  Lesson 1
 General Overview

Bioterrorism Threat

  • Many biological agents could be used to intentionally harm people. However, only a few, such as Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that causes plague, have the ability to cause large numbers of cases of severe or fatal illness. This health impact and resulting disruption requires special actions for medical and public health preparedness.
  • Concern about the use of plague as a weapon isn't just hypothetical. It has been considered for use in warfare since the 14th century to kill, disable, and instill fear in the enemy. To learn more about the history of plague as a weapon, you can view the short video located at the right.
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History of Plague Video


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Page last reviewed February 12, 2007
Page last modified September 7, 2004

  • Content source: CDC Emergency Risk Communication Branch (ERCB), Division of Emergency Operations (DEO), National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID)
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