Science & Tech

Human case of the bubonic plague confirmed in Colorado

Human case of the bubonic plague confirmed in Colorado
How The Black Plague Evolved To Become One of the Deadliest Pandemics …
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Health officials in the United States have confirmed the first human case of bubonic plague in Colorado.

Given the devastation that the plague caused the first time around when it ravaged Europe, it’s hardly surprising that modern day cases make the news and cause some concern.

From 1347 to 1351, the bubonic plague killed between 30 to 50 per cent of the population of Europe, with estimated death figures ranging anywhere from 75 and 200 million people. Doctors at the time wore beaked plague masks in an attempt to breathe in “purified” air.

Thankfully, in 2024, cases are very rare, but health officials in Pueblo County, Colorado have confirmed a human infection.

The confirmation comes after last week when the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment stated that preliminary tests suggested the bacteria that causes the disease, Yersinia pestis, was present.

Plague is transmitted by fleas and naturally occurs in wild rodents. According to the UK government website, “bacteria travel from the site of the bite to a lymph node which becomes inflamed and painful. This is called a ‘bubo’.”

Thanks to great advances in medication, plague can be treated with antibiotics but treatment has to be administered fairly quickly to avoid serious illness or death.

Public health officials are advising people in the Pueblo County area to avoid contact with wild animals and eliminate any places in the home where rodents could hide or shelter.

Pet owners are also advised to regularly treat their pets for fleas, not to allow their pets to sleep in bed with them and to not allow pets to stray in areas known for rodents.

People are also advised to use appropriate insect repellent to prevent flea bites and to avoid contact with dead animals.

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