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Open-File Report 2011–1293

Prepared in cooperation with the National Park Service

Bibliography of Literature Pertaining to Plague (Yersinia pestis)

By Laura E. Ellison and Megan K. Eberhardt Frank

Thumbnail of and link to report PDFAbstract

Plague is an acute and often fatal zoonotic disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Y. pestis mainly cycles between small mammals and their fleas; however, it has the potential to infect humans and frequently causes fatalities if left untreated. It is often considered a disease of the past; however, since the late 1800s, plague’s geographic range has expanded greatly, posing new threats in previously unaffected regions of the world, including the Western United States. A literature search was conducted using Internet resources and databases. The keywords chosen for the searches included plague, Yersinia pestis, management, control, wildlife, prairie dogs, fleas, North America, and mammals. Keywords were used alone or in combination with the other terms. Although this search pertains mostly to North America, citations were included from the international research community, as well. Databases and search engines used included Google (, Google Scholar (, SciVerse Scopus (, ISI Web of Knowledge (, and the USGS Library’s Digital Desktop ( The literature-cited sections of manuscripts obtained from keyword searches were cross-referenced to identify additional citations or gray literature that was missed by the Internet search engines. This Open-File Report, published as an Internet-accessible bibliography, is intended to be periodically updated with new citations or older references that may have been missed during this compilation. Hence, the authors would be grateful to receive notice of any new or old papers that the audience (users) think need to be included.

First posted November 29, 2011

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Suggested citation:

Ellison, L.E., and Eberhardt Frank, M.K., 2011, A bibliography of literature pertaining to plague (Yersinia pestis): U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011-1293, 43 p.





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