Idaho Child Diagnosed With Plague; Only 5th Case In State History

Modesto Morganelli
Giugno 13, 2018

Health officials confirm an Idaho child was infected with the plague this week, the first human diagnosis in the state since 1992. It is unknown whether the child was exposed to the disease in Idaho or during a recent trip to Oregon.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the plague was first introduced in the 1900 by rat-infested steamships.

Plague has been found historically in wildlife in both states.

The health department reminds southern Idaho recreationists that plague is unsafe to people and pets and for people to be aware of what to look for when in the Idaho outdoors. Humans usually get the disease after being bitten by a rodent flea that is carrying the plague bacterium.

People can greatly reduce their risk of becoming infected with plague by taking simple precautions, including avoiding contact with wild rodents, their fleas, and rodent carcasses.

According to the CDHD, plague among humans is rare but can be found in local ground squirrels and other rodents naturally. 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. No one should feed rodents in parks and picnic or campground areas, and people should never handle sick or dead rodents.

Sick pets should be examined promptly by a veterinarian, especially if they may have had contact with sick or dead rodents in the desert areas south and east of Boise.

Symptoms of plague usually occur within two to six days of exposure and include sudden onset of fever, chills, headache and weakness.

Talk to your veterinarian about using an appropriate flea control product on pets as not all products are safe for cats, dogs or children.

Clean up areas near your home where rodents can live, such as woodpiles and lots with tall grasses and weeds. Bubonic plague results in painfully swollen lymph nodes, while septicemic plague happens when the infection gets in the blood and causes skin and tissue to turn black and die.

Plague can be a very severe disease in people, with a fatality rate of up to 60 percent. Today, modern antibiotics are effective in treating plague but without prompt treatment, the disease can cause serious illness or death.

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