Is the Bubonic Plague Still Around?

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The plague. Sounds like one for the history books, right? Well, believe it or not, the plague is still around.

Blame fleas and the rats, mice, chipmunks, and squirrels they infect. Bubonic plague is caused by bacteria that live in fleas. If you get bit, you can get it, too. You can even get it from a rodent that a flea bites.

Symptoms can start two to six days after being exposed. People get flu-like symptoms like a fever, headache, weakness, and swollen lymph nodes. And large lymph nodes are called buboes, which is where the bubonic plague gets its name.

Plague is rare, because thankfully, we have much better ways to control rodents these days. And unlike in the Middle Ages, millions of people don't die from plague anymore. That's because doctors can cure it with antibiotics.

The sooner it's treated, the better the odds of a full recovery.

For WebMD, I'm Dr. Michael Smith.