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Plague  Lesson 2
 Clinical Presentation

Bubonic Plague

Bubonic plague is the most common and most easily identified form of plague. It has the following characteristics:

  • Incubation Period- 2-6 days.
  • Symptoms-
    • Lymphadenopathy and fever are both early symptoms of bubonic plague.
    • Patients develop buboes, which are grossly enlarged, extremely tender lymph nodes draining at the respective site of inoculation.
  • Progression of Disease- If bubonic plague is not treated, the bacteria can spread through the bloodstream causing septicemia or it can infect the lungs, causing a secondary case of pneumonic plague. Rarely, it can progress to meningitis.
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Bubonic Plague
(Click image to enlarge)


Axillary Bubo
Axillary Bubo

Inguinal Bubo
Inguinal Bubo

Femoral Bubo
Femoral Bubo

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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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