A. DOWSETT, HEALTH PROTECTION AGENCY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY A. DOWSETT, HEALTH PROTECTION AGENCY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
False-colour transmission electron micrograph of Yersinia pestis, the bacterium which causes bubonic plague (the Black Death of the Middle Ages). The bacterium is primarily a flea-carried pathogen of rats. Transfer to man occurs when a flea is obliged to leave its dead rodent host and feed on human blood. Infection is rapid, causing swellings in the lymph nodes (buboes) and leading to septicaemia & pulmonary infection. Extensive control measures, directed against the rats as well as their fleas, have essentially banished the plague from Europe, but there are still many regions of the world where the disease occurs. Magnification:x24,000 at 8x10inch,x6,857 at 6x7cm.
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