Bubonic Panic: When Plague invaded america

Educator's guide

The final title in the Deadly Diseases Trilogy tells the story of one of history’s worst human diseases. The book tracks plague from the beginnings of the First Pandemic ca. 542, to the Black Death of the 14th Century, to the scientific breakthroughs of the late 19th Century. In 1900, the disease invaded Chinatown, San Francisco, causing the first known plague epidemic in U.S. history. Readers will follow the outbreak through the eyes of victims, public health officials, doctors, politicians, and journalists. Finally, the book spotlights today’s health experts as they continue to cope with outbreaks throughout the world and the threat of plague as a bio-weapon.

Topics covered include biology; disease (germ theory, vectors, prevention, treatment, epidemiology); scientific discovery; American history (1900 to 1940s, Chinese immigration, San Francisco earthquake of 1906); government ( federal, California, & San Francisco authorities, U.S. Public Health Service, courts); world history. The book contains a glossary, timeline, source notes, bibliography, author’s note, recommended websites and books, and plague FAQs.

The PDF available HERE is an educator’s guide developed by the book’s publisher. It includes discussion questions and activities correlated with the Common Core State Standards.


More to Explore



  • The Barbary Plague: The Black Death in Victorian San Francisco by Marilyn Chase. New York: Random House, 2003
  • Plague, Fear, and Politics in San Francisco’s Chinatown by Guenter B. Risse. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012.
  • Chasing Secrets by Gennifer Choldenko. Wendy Lamb Books, 2015.
  • Angel Island: Gateway to Gold Mountain by Russell Freedman. New York: Clarion Books, 2013.