Idaho child recovering from plague

CDC via Getty Images The Oropsylla montana flea can be a carrier of the Yersinia pestis bacteria that causes the plague

CDC via Getty Images The Oropsylla montana flea can be a carrier of the Yersinia pestis bacteria that causes the plague

Idaho's Central District Health Department reported on Tuesday that a child in Elmore County was recovering from the bubonic plague.

One of the oldest identifiable diseases known to man, the plague is still widely distributed in the warm parts of the world. "But they can also jump on humans, or on dogs, or coyotes, or cats, which aren't the right hosts, but unfortunately those animals can be bitten by the fleas and get plague".

In recent decades, an average of seven human plague cases have been reported each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Although the idea of the plague sounds dire, another "black death" is not coming.

Plague bacteria is mostly transmitted through rodents and fleas.

In the US, 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.

Health officials stress that person-to-person transmission is extremely rare and this case was not a risk to others.

Plague has been found historically in wildlife in both states.

Plague is most commonly found in the western U.S.

The most common type is the bubonic plague, which represents 80 to 95 percent of cases.

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

When the plague gets into the blood, it can cause the septicemic plague, which represents 10 to 20 percent of cases, and triggers the entire immune system to fall into a risky condition called "sepsis".

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. This is important - when an animal dies from the plague, fleas leave the body and look for another host, which could be your pet, especially if it rolls in a carcass or eats it.

One of the ways to avoid the plague is to prevent contact with infected fleas by wearing repellent during activities such as camping, hiking, working outdoors.

In 2012, a man in OR was hospitalized for plague after he tried to pull a mouse out of his cat's mouth. Can develop from untreated bubonic plague.

Plague bacteria. A child in Idaho was infected with the plague.

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