There are a few cases every year in the USA and more in other parts of the world. Epidemiologists with the Central District Health Department said today it is not known whether the child was exposed to plague in Idaho or during a recent trip to Oregon.
Plague bacteria. A child in Idaho was infected with the plague.
A child in Elmore County, Idaho, is in recovery after the contracting an infection of the Yersinia pestis bacteria - a disease so infamous that it is simply called the plague; though you may know it from its other memorable title, the Black Death. "Since 1990, eight human cases were confirmed in OR and two were confirmed in Idaho". Plague was identified in 2015 and 2016 in ground squirrels found in the desert south of Interstate 84 in Ada County.
Plague can be a very severe disease in people, with a fatality rate of up to 60 percent. Flea bites spread bubonic or septicemic plague, which both cause fever and weakness. In most cases, there's also a painful swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin, armpit and neck. It can appear on its own or develop from bubonic plague.
Pneumonic plague, which is based in the lungs, "is the most virulent form of plague" and "can be fatal" when not diagnosed and treated early on, according to the WHO.
It can be transmitted to humans through direct contact with an infected animal or flea, but person-to-person transmission is considered extremely rare.
Central District Health Department, said in the statement about the infected child.
It is the first human case in the state since the early 1990s, and is believed to be the only one reported this year. When a case does crop up in the United States, disease detectives try to find every person an infected individual came into contact with. Those outbreaks, like a recent severe one in Madagascar, can become more risky.
According to the CDHD, plague among humans is rare but can be found in local ground squirrels and other rodents naturally.
In the USA, 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. Fleas spread the disease between animals. "If they get on another rodent that they can live on, then they've been successful".
The Black Death of the Middle Ages has been estimated to have killed between 155-200 million people in Europe in the 14th century, including one in every three Europeans.
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