One Person In Colorado Infected With Bubonic Plague

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One person in Pueblo County, Colorado, about 100 miles south of the capital city of Denver, has been infected with bubonic plague. Earlier announcements had been more general, stating it was the “plague.”

Local health officials stated on Monday that the infected person was hospitalized.  Trysten Garcia, a spokesperson for the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment, said in an email Tuesday morning it was bubonic plague, according to a report by USA Today. While the infected person was in the hospital, the condition improved.

The rulers and “authorities” in Colorado claim that because the bubonic plague is so endemic to the area, it is difficult to pinpoint the source of the infection.

Bubonic plague, which wreaked havoc during historic pandemics across Europe and Asia, is caused by the Yersinia pestis bacterium. It is transmitted by fleas often carried by rodents in the wild, including rats and prairie dogs. Plague occurs when infected fleas bite people, or when humans touch or skin an infected animal.

Most human cases in the U.S. have occurred in the Southwest – in northern New Mexico, northern Arizona, and southern Colorado – and the West – in California, southern Oregon, and far western Nevada. The U.S. has an average of seven human plague cases per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. -USA Today

In March, a man from New Mexico died from the plague, state health officials announced. Oregon officials had also identified a human case of plague in February. The Oregon case likely stemmed from an infected pet cat.

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), symptoms can develop after an incubation period lasting between a day and a week. Plague typically causes sudden fever and chills, severe headache, muscle aches, nausea, and vomiting. A rather common symptom is swollen, painful lymph nodes, called buboes which give the most common form of the disease its name, bubonic plague. These manifest in the body as swelling in the armpits, groin, and neck, the Mayo Clinic said. Buboes vary in size from less than half an inch to about 4 inches. Bubonic plague doesn’t spread from person to person, the CDC said.

Bubonic plague is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. When this bacteria infects the lungs, it takes the form of a plague called pneumonic. If it happens to infect the blood, it is called septicemic. Pneumonic plague can spread when someone breathes air droplets from an infected person. These droplets can remain in the air an hour after an infected person coughs. Pneumonic plague can also occur when the bacteria from untreated bubonic or septicemic plague spreads to the lungs. Septicemic plague doesn’t spread from person to person.

The WHO estimates that 30% to 60% of people die of bubonic plague. Pneumonic plague is fatal when left untreated and there is no “vaccine” for the disease.

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