Friday, 3 April 2009

The lurking plague

During retroconversion of our printed catalogue, my colleagues discovered The plague manual, published by the World Health Organization in 1976. It was bubonic plague, caused by Yersinia pestis, which caused over 25 million people to die between 1347-1352.
There are several forms of plague: bubonic, pneumonic and septicaemic. Plague is certainly not a disease of the distant past; it is endemic throughout the world today.
The Plague Manual describes plague survey teams, the Central Plague Laboratory guidelines, serological and bacteriological examination of plague-suspect material, fleas and plague control methods. Annexes contain diagrams showing how to skin a small mammal and flea anatomy.
The WHO's webpage on plague contains today's plague manual, plus factsheets and disease outbreak information.

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