Plague: A Survey of Recent Developments in the Prevention and Treatment of the Disease

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  • 1 Pearl River, N.Y.
  • | 2 New York City, N. Y.

Since the beginning of the Christian era, plague has been one of the principal infectious diseases which affect the human population in epidemics. Much was learned concerning these epidemic scourges and even primitive peoples made observations enabling them to forecast the appearance of the disease in epidemic proportions. Modern concepts of the etiological nature and pathogenesis of the disease date from 1894 when two independent workers discovered almost simultaneously that the causative agent was a bacterium, subsequently classified as Pasteurella pestis. Following the epidemic of 1894, which had its origin in southwestern China, plague attained world-wide dissemination and every civilized country was compelled to take steps to curb the disease. Since then much has been learned concerning the malady, its epidemiology, treatment and control. However, the explosive nature and trigger mechanism which sets off an epidemic still require elucidation.