Pneumonic plague is a severe and highly contagious form of the infectious disease known as plague. It is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. While the bubonic plague is the most common form of plague, pneumonic plague is the most virulent and potentially deadly. Pneumonic plague is primarily transmitted through respiratory droplets. It can occur as a primary infection, in which the bacteria directly infect the lungs, or as a secondary infection that develops when bubonic or septicemic plague spreads to the lungs. Person-to-person transmission of pneumonic plague is possible through close contact with respiratory secretions or aerosolized droplets from an infected individual. The symptoms of pneumonic plague typically appear within a few hours to a few days after exposure to the bacteria. They include: High fever Chills Severe headache Weakness and fatigue Rapid breathing Chest pain Cough, often producing bloody or watery sputum Difficulty breathing Rapid progression to respiratory failure Pneumonic plague is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment. If left untreated, it can rapidly progress and result in severe complications, including respiratory failure, shock, and death. Diagnosis of pneumonic plague involves clinical evaluation, laboratory tests, and imaging studies. Laboratory tests may include blood cultures, sputum analysis, and rapid diagnostic tests for Yersinia pestis DNA. Treatment of pneumonic plague involves prompt administration of antibiotics, such as streptomycin, gentamicin, or doxycycline. Early treatment greatly improves the chances of survival. Patients with pneumonic plague should be isolated and appropriate infection control measures should be implemented to prevent further transmission. Preventing pneumonic plague involves various measures, including: Avoiding close contact with individuals infected with pneumonic plague Wearing personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves, when caring for infected patients Prompt identification, diagnosis, and treatment of cases Implementing public health measures, such as contact tracing and surveillance, to identify and manage potential outbreaks It is important to note that pneumonic plague is rare but considered a serious public health concern due to its high mortality rate and potential for rapid spread. If you suspect you may have been exposed to pneumonic plague or are experiencing symptoms, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention.