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Pneumonic Plague in Johannesburg, South Africa, 1904 - Volume 24, Number 1—January 2018 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC

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Plague is a potentially dangerous reemerging disease. Because modern outbreaks are relatively infrequent, data for epidemiologic study are best found in historical accounts. In 1905, the Rand Plague Committee published a report describing an explosive outbreak of 113 cases of pneumonic plague that occurred in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1904. Using these data, we investigated social, spatial, and temporal dynamics and quantified transmissibility as measured by the time-varying reproduction number. Risk for transmission was highest when friends, family members, and caregivers approached the sick. Reproduction numbers were 2–4. Transmission rates rapidly diminished after implementation of control measures, including isolation and...
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