Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Idaho boy recovering from rare case of plague

Idaho child diagnosed with plague Elmore County child recovering from plague
Ben Pena | 15 June, 2018, 02:15

A child in Idaho is recovering after being treated for the bubonic plague this week.

Cases of plague in Idaho were diagnosed in squirrels as recently as 2016, though none have been found in southern Ada County or Elmore County this year.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare issued a news release Tuesday afternoon saying the child is recovering from the bacterial disease.

The department says there have only been 10 cases of plague involving people in both states since 1990.

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

Plague bacteria is mostly transmitted through rodents and fleas.

It is most commonly transmitted through fleas, which contract the disease from rodents.

According to the CDC, an average of seven human plague cases have been reported each year across the U.S.

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.

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Still, the United States only gets a handful of cases - usually between one and 17 every year.

"The case serves as a reminder to recreationists in southern Idaho that plague is risky to people and pets, but with proper awareness, precautions and prompt treatment when needed, plague should not discourage you from enjoying the Idaho outdoors", state health officials said in a news release. 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. "Wear insect repellant, long trousers and socks when visiting plague-affected areas".

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.

While plague in humans is rare, experts say it occurs naturally in some rodent populations, including ground squirrels in Idaho.

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.

Symptoms can include fever, chills, headaches and weakness.

- Reduce rodent habitat around your home, workplace and recreational areas.

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

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