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Animals 2011, 1(2), 242-255;

Plague: Infections of Companion Animals and Opportunities for Intervention

Biomedical Sciences, Dstl Porton Down, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP4 0JQ, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 May 2011 / Revised: 20 June 2011 / Accepted: 20 June 2011 / Published: 21 June 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Veterinary Vaccines)
Full-Text   |   PDF [115 KB, uploaded 21 June 2011]

Simple Summary

Plague is a notorious disease of humans, typically transmitted from rodents to man by the bite of infected fleas. However, plague can also be brought into the home by domestic animals. Cats are acutely susceptible to plague and can pose a significant hazard to close contacts. Dogs are relatively resistant to plague, but can import infected fleas into the home. This review discusses options available for vaccinating cats and dogs, to protect the animals, their owners and veterinarians from infection.


Plague is a zoonotic disease, normally circulating in rodent populations, transmitted to humans most commonly through the bite of an infected flea vector. Secondary infection of the lungs results in generation of infectious aerosols, which pose a significant hazard to close contacts. In enzootic areas, plague infections have been reported in owners and veterinarians who come into contact with infected pets. Dogs are relatively resistant, but can import infected fleas into the home. Cats are acutely susceptible, and can present a direct hazard to health. Reducing roaming and hunting behaviours, combined with flea control measures go some way to reducing the risk to humans. Various vaccine formulations have been developed which may be suitable to protect companion animals from contracting plague, and thus preventing onward transmission to man. Since transmission has resulted in a number of fatal cases of plague, the vaccination of domestic animals such as cats would seem a low cost strategy for reducing the risk of infection by this serious disease in enzootic regions. View Full-Text
Keywords: plague; vaccine; cats; dogs; fleas plague; vaccine; cats; dogs; fleas
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Oyston, P.C.; Williamson, D. Plague: Infections of Companion Animals and Opportunities for Intervention. Animals 2011, 1, 242-255.

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