Officials puzzled after Idaho boy contracts the plague

Modesto Morganelli
Giugno 16, 2018

An Idaho child is recovering from the plague, but the origin of the illness is uncertain, officials there said.

The child is recovering after receiving antibiotics. Person-to-person transmission can happen but this rarely happens and health officials said that the case of the child in Idaho does not pose risk to others. It's mostly transmitted through rodents and fleas, but humans can also be infected, too. Since 1990, there have been eight confirmed cases in OR and two in Idaho. The disease is best known for killing millions in Europe in the 1300s during the Black Death pandemic.

Despite this, the disease can still cause serious illness and death if not treated correctly.

Earlier this week, laboratory test results came back that confirmed it was a case of bubonic plague - the most common of the three forms of the disease.

The child is the fifth human to have contracted plague in Idaho since the year 1940. Plague has historically been found in wildlife in both states.

In a press release, the Health Department said that "Plague has historically been found in wildlife in both states", and that "since 1990, eight human cases were confirmed in OR and two were confirmed in Idaho".

You are advised to stay away from rodents and to wear insect repellent.

"Plague is spread to humans through a bite from an infected flea".

Keep your pets from roaming and hunting voles or other rodents.

- Keep fleas off your pets by applying flea-control products.

Bubonic plague accounts for about 80 percent of plague cases in humans, and symptoms include fever, headache, chills, weakness or swollen lymph nodes.

In the United States, cases of the plague are most common in northern New Mexico, northern Arizona, souther Colorado, California, southern OR, and far western Nevada. To prevent exposure, no one should ever feed wild rodents, nor handle any that are sick or dead. After a rodent or pet they've infected dies, they travel to find their next host. In most cases, there is a painful swelling of the lymph node in the groin, armpit or neck areas.

In 2012, a man in OR was hospitalized for plague after he tried to pull a mouse out of his cat's mouth. In some cases, rapidly developing signs of pneumonia (shortness of breath, chest pain, cough) can occur.

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