Scanning electron micrograph of Yersinia pestis bacteria on proventricular spines of a Xenopsylla cheopis flea. Yersinia pestis (formerly Pasteurella pestis) is a Gram-negative rod-shaped bacterium. It is a facultative anaerobe that can infect humans and other animals. Human Yersinia pestis infection takes three main forms pneumonic, septicemic, and the notorious bubonic plagues. All three forms are widely believed to have been responsible for a number of high-mortality epidemics throughout human history, including the Plague of Justinian in 542 and the Black Death that accounted for the death of at least one-third of the European population between 1347 and 1353. More recently, Yersinia pestis has gained attention as a possible biological warfare agent and the CDC has classified it as a category A pathogen requiring preparation for a possible terrorist attack.
May 30th, 2013
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