Statutory notification  

Public health action

Important information

  • Infectious agent: Yersinia pestis.
  • Transmission: Bite from infected fleas or handling tissues of infected animals in regions where bubonic plague is endemic. Rarely from airborne droplets from human patients or household cats with plague pneumonia. Yersinia pestis is not endemic in Australia.
  • Incubation period: From 1 to 7 days.
  • Infectious period: Patients are usually no longer infectious after receiving 48–72 hours of appropriate antibiotic treatment.
  • Case exclusion: Hospitalise the patient and use appropriate infection control procedures while patient is undergoing antibiotic therapy.
  • Contact exclusion: Chemoprophylaxis and surveillance for seven days; those who refuse chemoprophylaxis should be maintained in strict isolation with careful surveillance for seven days.
  • Treatment: Antibiotic treatment as recommended by the doctor.
  • Immunisation: Vaccines have been developed but vaccination is not routine. If travelling to a plague endemic area, refer to a doctor of your choice to determine if vaccination is recommended.
  • Case and contact follow up: Is conducted by Public Health Units and the Communicable Disease Control Directorate.

Public health action

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Public Health