Plague has been reported to occur in camels and both bactrians and dromedaries play an important role in the transmission to humans.
There are 2 forms of plague. In bubonic plague, the bacteria reach the regional lymph nodes, which become inflamed, soft and may suppurate (buboes). Dissemination via the blood stream may lead to pneumonia and meningitis.
- pestis (Pasteurella pestis) is a short, oval coccobacillus with rounded ends, occurring singly or in pairs when directly stained from tissue or exudate. In fluid culture, the bacilli tend to form chains. Y. pestis is Gram-negative, non-motile, non-sporing and capsulated. In smears from tissues stained with methylene blue, the bacilli show characteristic bipolar staining.
- pestis is mainly transmitted by fleas from tolerant rodents. Cats are also susceptible to rabbit Y. pestis and can therefore pose a health hazard to humans in endemic areas.
Flea is the main vector of disease transmission among camels.
- pestis affects the lymph nodes, and causes abscesses disseminated over the entire body.
- pestis was isolated from these lesions as well as from pleural effusions.
- In addition to a cutaneous manifestation, septicemic and pulmonary forms also occur in the camel.
- Streptomycin and tetracyclines in combination are effective.
- A freeze-dried anti-plague vaccine is used for the immunization of camels.