Health officials have issued a warning that the plague is back, and two people in the U.S. have already died from it.
According to Daily Mail, an unidentified adult in southern Colorado died of the plague. This is the second person this year to die or the disease in the state, after a 16 year-old baseball player from northern Colorado also died of it in June.
Christine Nevin-Woods, the medical officer for the Pueblo City-County Health Department, said that the adult died of a relatively rare septicemic form of the disease and was likely infected by fleas from a dead rodent or other animal. This particular form of the pledge is difficult to diagnose because it isn’t accompanied by tell-tale swelling of lymph nodes seen in most plague cases.
Cases of the plague are extremely rare in the U.S., but when they do pop up in America it’s usually in the West. Deaths from the plague are even more rare, with just an average of seven plague cases in the U.S. reported a year. That being said, Colorado reported eight plague cases last year alone.
The state’s rise of cases is likely due to a wet spring that cause an unusually lush vegetation that created a boom in the animal population. This, in turn, created an increase of diseases spread by small animals.
The most common form of the plague is the infamous bubonic plague, which is characterized by swelling. In the septicemic plague, the bacteria directly enters the bloodstream and causes fever, chills and abdominal pain. It is often mistaken for the flu.
The last time someone died of the plague in the U.S. was in 2013, so it’s particularly alarming that there have been two deaths already this summer.
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