Plague is a disease caused by Yersinia pestis (Y. pestis), a bacterium found in rodents and their fleas in many areas around the world, including most of the western United States. Pneumonic plague occurs when Yersinia pestis infects the lungs. Transmission can take place if someone breathes in Y. pestis particles, which could happen in an aerosol release during a bioterrorism attack. Pneumonic plague is also transmitted by breathing in Y. pestis suspended in respiratory droplets from a person (or animal) with pneumonic plague. Becoming infected in this way usually requires direct and close contact with the ill person or animal. People who have had close contact with an infected person can greatly reduce the chance of becoming sick if they begin treatment of antibiotics within 7 days of their exposure. In the case of a Plague attack or outbreak, antibiotics will be available at POD sites.
In the event of a weaponized plague attack or outbreak, the Washoe County Health District will announce detailed instructions on how to obtain preventive medication through a point of dispensing (POD) site. This information will be available through the media and on this website.
Last modified on 07/21/2015