This image depicts a magnified left lateral view of a female Oriental rat flea, Xenopsylla cheopis, a well-known bubonic plague vector. This specimen was harvested from the hide of a Malaysian house rat, Rattus rattus diardii, which had been located in a rural village in the Bojolali Regency District, of the Central Java Province of Indonesia, in March, 1968. The collector, by the name of Ogden, was on staff at the U.S. Army-SEATO (Southeast Asia Treaty Organization) Laboratory, APO (Army Post Office) S.F. (San Francisco), 96346.
“Plague is a disease that affects humans and other mammals. It is caused by the bacterium, Yersinia pestis. Humans usually get plague after being bitten by a rodent flea that is carrying the plague bacterium or by handling an animal infected with plague. Plague is infamous for killing millions of people in Europe during the Middle Ages. Today, modern antibiotics are effective in treating plague. Without prompt treatment, the disease can cause serious illness or death. Presently, human plague infections continue to occur in the western United States, but significantly more cases occur in parts of Africa and Asia.”
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