ICD-10-CM Code A20


Version 2020 Non-Billable Code

Not Valid for Submission

A20 is a "header" nonspecific and non-billable code code, consider using a code with a higher level of specificity for a diagnosis of plague. The code is NOT valid for the year 2020 for the submission of HIPAA-covered transactions.

Short Description:Plague
Long Description:Plague

Consider the following ICD-10 codes with a higher level of specificity:

  • A20.0 - Bubonic plague
  • A20.1 - Cellulocutaneous plague
  • A20.2 - Pneumonic plague
  • A20.3 - Plague meningitis
  • A20.7 - Septicemic plague
  • A20.8 - Other forms of plague
  • A20.9 - ... unspecified

Tabular List of Diseases and Injuries

The Tabular List of Diseases and Injuries is a list of ICD-10 codes, organized "head to toe" into chapters and sections with guidance for inclusions, exclusions, descriptions and more. The following references are applicable to the code A20:


This note appears immediately under a three character code title to further define, or give examples of, the content of the category.
  • infection due to Yersinia pestis

Clinical Information

  • AFRICAN HORSE SICKNESS-. an insect borne reovirus infection of horses mules and donkeys in africa and the middle east; characterized by pulmonary edema cardiac involvement and edema of the head and neck.
  • FELINE PANLEUKOPENIA-. a highly contagious dna virus infection of the cat family characterized by fever enteritis and bone marrow changes. it is also called feline ataxia feline agranulocytosis feline infectious enteritis cat fever cat plague and show fever. it is caused by feline panleukopenia virus or the closely related mink enteritis virus or canine parvovirus.
  • INFLUENZA IN BIRDS-. infection of domestic and wild fowl and other birds with influenza a virus. avian influenza usually does not sicken birds but can be highly pathogenic and fatal in domestic poultry.
  • INFLUENZA A VIRUS-. the type species of the genus influenzavirus a that causes influenza and other diseases in humans and animals. antigenic variation occurs frequently between strains allowing classification into subtypes and variants. transmission is usually by aerosol human and most non aquatic hosts or waterborne ducks. infected birds shed the virus in their saliva nasal secretions and feces.
  • PLAGUE-. an acute infectious disease caused by yersinia pestis that affects humans wild rodents and their ectoparasites. this condition persists due to its firm entrenchment in sylvatic rodent flea ecosystems throughout the world. bubonic plague is the most common form.
  • PLAGUE VACCINE-. a suspension of killed yersinia pestis used for immunizing people in enzootic plague areas.
  • RINDERPEST-. a viral disease of cloven hoofed animals caused by morbillivirus. it may be acute subacute or chronic with the major lesions characterized by inflammation and ulceration of the entire digestive tract. the disease was declared successfully eradicated worldwide in 2010.

Code Classification

  • Certain infectious and parasitic diseases (A00–B99)
    • Certain zoonotic bacterial diseases (A20-A28)

Code History

  • FY 2016 - New Code, effective from 10/1/2015 through 9/30/2016
    (First year ICD-10-CM implemented into the HIPAA code set)
  • FY 2017 - No Change, effective from 10/1/2016 through 9/30/2017
  • FY 2018 - No Change, effective from 10/1/2017 through 9/30/2018
  • FY 2019 - No Change, effective from 10/1/2018 through 9/30/2019
  • FY 2020 - No Change, effective from 10/1/2019 through 9/30/2020

Information for Patients


Plague is an infection caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. The bacteria are found mainly in rats and in the fleas that feed on them. People and other animals can get plague from rat or flea bites. In the past, plague destroyed entire civilizations. Today plague is uncommon, due to better living conditions and antibiotics.

There are three forms of plague:

  • Bubonic plague causes the tonsils, adenoids, spleen, and thymus to become inflamed. Symptoms include fever, aches, chills, and tender lymph glands.
  • In septicemic plague, bacteria multiply in the blood. It causes fever, chills, shock, and bleeding under the skin or other organs.
  • Pneumonic plague is the most serious form. Bacteria enter the lungs and cause pneumonia. People with the infection can spread this form to others. This type could be a bioterror agent.

Lab tests can diagnose plague. Treatment is a strong antibiotic. There is no vaccine.

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