Plague bacteria. Light micrograph of Yersinia pestis bacteria, the cause of bubonic plague or black death. These bacteria are carried by rat fleas and transmitted to humans when the fleas feed. They cause headaches, fever and aching limbs, followed by painful swellings of the lymph nodes. In serious cases the bacteria enter the bloodstream and multiply rapidly, leading to septicaemia. They may also infect the lungs, or cause bleeding under the skin that can lead to ulcers. Bubonic plague killed millions of people in the Middle Ages, but is now treated with antibiotics. Dark field illumination. Magnification: x1000 at 6x9cm size.
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