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Bubonic Plague Death Reported in the US, Unprecedented Surge in Cases Sparks Fear

Visual Representation for Bubonic Plague Bacteria

United States: A man has succumbed to the bubonic plague in New Mexico, according to the recent health detail shared by the state health officials. The complications regarding the infection has been increasing across the region and the ongoing risk in the region is being assessed, as per the details by the health officials.

The health authorities have not shared the details regarding the infected resident, but has informed that he was the resident of Lincoln County and sought treatment in a hospital after getting infected with the bacterial affliction, according to the reports published by New York Post.

However, the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) has also underlined that the reason behind the infection is unclear, and it is also unknown how he contracted the infection.

The report by the health authorities further mentioned that it was the first-ever death reported of bubonic plague since 2021. It also mentioned that he lost his life to infection despite continuous and best efforts by the health experts and physicians. In addition to this, the death is also the first-ever death related to BP since 2020.

But what exactly is bubonic plague?

As per the health authorities, plague is caused due to rodents and is known to be a bacterial disease. The common mode of transmission of the disease, among humans, is through infected flea bites. Along with this, it can also spread via direct contact with infected animals such as rodents, pets and wildlife animals.

During the ongoing risk, the Health Department has pledged to assess the community and has been conducting “outreach to area residents.”

In addition to this, State Public Health Veterinarian, DVM, MPH – Erin Phipps stated, “We extend our deepest sympathy to the family of the Lincoln County man who succumbed to the plague,” according to the New York Post.

“This tragic incident serves as a clear reminder of the threat posed by this ancient disease and emphasizes the need for heightened community awareness and proactive measures to prevent its spread,” as per the reports.

The health experts have also mentioned that the infection is caused by a bacterium named Yersinia pestis which was initially found in North America circa 1900 from rats. Since then, the disease has been emerged as endemic to ground squirrels and rodents in the rural southwestern US. It is to be noted that the infection is highly reported in the region.

Accordingly, the individual, who suffers with the infection, experience many symptoms including fever or chills and swollen lymph nodes.

The concern was addressed by a certified infection control practitioner based in Canada – Erica Susky, who stated, “The buboes form at the site of the bite from the infected rodent or flea.”

Is there any vaccine for the plague?

The Health Department has outlined that as of now there is no vaccination against plague but if the infection is detected early it can be treated via antibiotics. But, the concerns related to the disease are high because the disease can become fatal if left untreated.

Susky further warned, “Bubonic plague is a serious infectious illness alone, but can also develop quickly into more severe and deadly forms of plague. More serious forms include pneumonic and septicemic plague, which is where the bacteria invade the lungs and bloodstream,” as per the New York Post.

Bubonic Plague in the US!

According to the officials, the bubonic plague is extremely rare in the United States. On average, the total number of cases reported are between five (5) and 15 cases each year. Last month, a woman from Oregon tested positive to the disease and this was the first reported case of bubonic plague in the US in a decade.

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