Plague as a Biological Weapon: Risk of Person-to-Person Transmission

Plague has received much attention because it may be used as a biological weapon. Intentionally released aerosols would cause pneumonic plague.

In order to prepare for such an event, it is important for medical personnel and first responders to form a realistic idea of the risk of person-to-person spread of infection. Historical accounts and contemporary experience show that pneumonic plague is not as contagious as it is commonly believed to be. Persons with plague usually only transmit the infection when the disease is in the endstage, when infected persons cough copious amounts of bloody sputum, and only by means of close contact.