Pestis and the People
Plague Forms
Pestis Effects

Hosts of Yersinia pestis

Yersinia pestis is a flea born disease.  The vector flea finds a victim and tries to feed by injecting its sucking mechanism, but the bacilli has blocked the flea's esophagus and pharynx, preventing it from obtaining any blood.  This causes the flea to continuously puncture its food source, in turn regurgitating into the wound and injecting it with the plague bacilli.

Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The bacteria is generally hosted by rodents such as ground squirrels, kangaroo, urban rats, mice, prairie dogs, and chipmunks, but it can also be found in soil contaminated by infected dead fleas and rodents.  More than 200 species of rodents are able to carry various degrees of the disease.



Kristi Taylor