On 12 June, a public health advisory was issued after a child was diagnosed with plague. Health officials said ground squirrels near the child's home in Elmore County, Idaho, had tested positive for carrying the disease in 2015 and 2016, though no cases have been reported since.
Evidently. It's unknown whether the child - whose identity was not disclosed - contracted the disease in Idaho or in or while on a recent vacation.
"The most likely way that the child was infected is through the bite of an infected flea that was from a rodent", says Correll.
An Elmore County child is the first with a confirmed human case of plague in the state since 1992. The Idaho Central District Health's statement said that since 1990, there have been two cases in Idaho and eight in Oregon. In the 14th century, almost two thirds of Europe's population was wiped out by the disease during the Black Death.
As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the plague occurs in western states more often, especially during the coolers summers followed by wet winters.
Untreated, patients can develop pneumonic plague, the most serious form of the disease, which spreads from person to person when infected people cough tiny droplets into the air. Person-to-person transmission is extremely rare, and wasn't a factor in this case, officials said.
The plague is generally transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas but can be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals including rodents and pets. The symptoms include fever, chills, weakness, and headache, followed by very painful and swollen lymph nodes, referred to as "buboes".
See your doctor about any unexplained illness involving a sudden and severe fever.
Keep the backyard clean and place woodpiles, hay or compost piles away from rodents.
The CDC urges people to respond quickly to any rat or mouse infestations in your home, to wear gloves when dealing with animals that could carry it and to keep fleas off your pets. Cats with plague pneumonia can give it to people.