Yersinia pestis - Bacteria Virulence and Symptoms Essay

Yersinia pestis - Bacteria Virulence and Symptoms Essay

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Yersinia pestis - Bacteria Virulence and Symptoms

Yersinia pestis appeared fairly early in history and is still prevailing today. Humans have come in contact with this bacterium in massive outbreaks throughout history, including the most famous Black Death of the 14th century. From the lack of knowledge of the bacteria and its ability to infect populations rapidly, the human race has suffered immensely. The bacterium is specialized with specific plasmids, Yersinia outer proteins as well as other toxins that it uses to disrupt the body's immune response. Through this, Yersinia pestis avoids harm and effectively infects the circulatory system of its host causing three forms of the plague: Bubonic, Pneumonic and Septicemic. Each form of the plague can develop into a case of fatality as the host experiences painful symptoms, including the large, inflamed bubo.
One of the most well known pandemics known to mankind is the plague, also known as the Black Death, which plundered areas from Asia to Western Europe and carried on to the Americas. Though the infection is not the most prevalent compared to many of the world's other bacterial agents, the plague is one of the most feared. Normally, Yersinia pestis is a zoological disease, affecting small mammals and their fleas. However, the most influential outbreak in humans occurred in the 14th century, primarily caused by the rapid movement of rats carrying an infected rat flea, or Xenopsylla cheopis. The bacterium, Yersinia pestis, transferred quickly from person to person as the growing population became infected with the contagious form of the plague. And during Europe's worst outbreak, the lack of scientific knowledge increased the fatality of the Yersinia pestis bacteria. The virulen...

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Carniel, Elisabeth and Hinnebusch, B. Joseph. Yersinia Molecular and Cellular Biology. Horizon Bioscience. 2004.

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