The bubonic plague in America? A child in Idaho gets the diagnosis

Credit PA

Credit PA

Epidemiologists say this case serves as a reminder that plague is unsafe to people and pets, but the disease should not enourage recreationists from enjoying the Idaho outdoors.

In the US, the areas where the plague is more common include northern New Mexico, northern Arizona, southern Colorado, California, southern OR and western Nevada.

There are a few plague cases every year in the U.S., mostly in the rural West and especially the Southwest.

Central District Health Department, said in the statement about the infected child.

The child, whose age and gender was not released, received antibiotic treatment and is now recovering.

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Early diagnosis and early treatment can save lives since antibiotic treatment is effective against the plague bacteria. Since those discoveries, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, public health districts and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare have been working to raise awareness of plague in the area each year. There were 16 cases reported that year, the second-most since 2000. Plague has historically been found in wildlife in both states. That would only happen through close proximity to someone suffering from the variation of the disease known as pneumonic plague. Sick pets should be examined promptly by a veterinarian, especially if they may have had contact with sick or dead rodents. When a case does crop up in the United States, disease detectives try to find every person an infected individual came into contact with. Human symptoms of plague usually appear within two to six days of contact and include fever, chills, headaches and often a swelling of lymph nodes under the armpit, the CDHD said.

Plague is a bigger problem in places that have a harder time shutting down outbreaks due to a lack of infrastructure, humanitarian crises, or ongoing conflicts, according to the World Health Organization. In recent decades, an average of seven human plague cases have been reported each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

In the US, people can contract the plague when disposing of squirrels or mice that died from the infection or traveled to an area where infected animals live. It can be spread by contact with an infected animal or through fleas. "But they can also jump on humans, or on dogs, or coyotes, or cats, which aren't the right hosts, but unfortunately those animals can be bitten by the fleas and get plague".

The plague killed some 60 percent of Europeans during the 1300's, but it is no longer as deadly, with a mortality rate of around 10%.

According to the most recent data, there were no deaths from plague in 2016, but four in 2015.

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