A 12-case outbreak of pharyngeal plague following the consumption of camel meat, in north-eastern Jordan

Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 2005 Dec;99(8):789-93. doi: 10.1179/136485905X65161.


Between late January and early February 1997, an outbreak of plague, associated with cervical lymphadenopathy and fever, occurred in the Jordanian village of Azraq ad-Druze, which lies about 50 km west of the border with Saudi Arabia. The 12 cases who presented at hospital were initially assumed to have tularaemia, and all were successfully treated with gentamicin. When, however, their sera were tested for evidence of Yersinia pestis or Francisella tularensis infection (using haemagglutination, enzyme immuno-assays for specific IgM or the F1 antigen of Y. pestis, and micro-agglutination tests), all 12 were found to have anti-Y. pestis IgM. Three dogs shot near the Saudi Arabian border were also found seropositive for antibodies against Y. pestis. Eleven of the 12 patients reported that, 2-4 days before their symptoms appeared, they had eaten the meat cut from the carcass of the same camel, either raw (10 cases) or cooked (one case). All 12 patients were diagnosed as cases of pharyngeal plague (the first cases of plague reported in Jordan for more than 80 years), caused by Y. pestis that most had acquired when they ate raw meat from a camel that was infected with the pathogen.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Camelus / microbiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Dog Diseases / etiology
  • Dogs / microbiology
  • Female
  • Food Microbiology
  • Humans
  • Jordan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Meat / microbiology*
  • Pharyngitis / microbiology
  • Plague / diagnosis
  • Plague / epidemiology*
  • Plague / transmission
  • Plague / veterinary
  • Yersinia / isolation & purification