Bubonic Plague in New Mexico

Posted by benedictquest on Sat, May 14, 2011  
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First condition of bubonic plague for the year in New Mexico

Recently, the first condition of bubonic plague for the year was discovered in New Mexico. The Black Plague, a flea-borne disease, has never gone entirely away and individuals in some remote areas are at some risk for catching it. It isn't actually as unusual as it sounds. There are typically about a dozen cases per year in the United States alone.

Patient with the plague in hospital in New Mexico

A male in New Mexico just got the title as the first person to get the bubonic plague in 2011. He is 58 years old. Time states the man's name has not been released. There are certain plague symptoms. The man had them all. He had very swollen lymph nodes, a fever, abdominal pain and groin pain. "Bubo" is what the swollen lymph glands were called in the Middle Ages because of how large they would get. This is how the "bubonic plague" got its name. Wikipedia explained that "bubo" means lymph nodes. It is ancient Greek

No have to bring out the dead

According to the CDC, there are usually 1 to 40 bubonic plague cases reported annually. On average, there are 13 yearly. Without treatment, 50 to 90 percent of cases will end in death. That number drops to 15 percent when treated properly. There were 182 deaths reported by the World Organization in 2003 out of the 2,118 reported cases. About 98.8 percent of the deaths occurred in Africa while 98.7 percent of the cases were in Africa. New Mexico is the state that has much of the cases. The Miami New Times reports this odd occurrence that keeps occurring. Since 1949, there have been 262 New Mexico plague cases reported, six of which occurred in 2009. However, small plague epidemics did occur in American cities until the middle of the 20th century, according to the LA Times. Outbreaks were common in Los Angeles from 1924 to 1925 while Oakland had them in 1919. From 1900 to 1908 there were outbreaks in San Francisco also. The plague was a real problem in 1924 in Los Angeles. There were 37 people killed from it.

Stay away from all the fleas

Fleas called Yersinis Pestris have bacteria that cause the bubonic plague, or Black plague, to happen. Plague-infected fleas spread it by feeding on small rodents for instance prairie dogs, rats, chipmunks and ground squirrels. Individuals with pets or rodents near can have the fleas on the animal. Then, the flea can jump to the human. The disease spreads easily. The flea with the bacteria simply needs to bite the person. There is a lot of risk in the Southwest. This is where it is the greatest. Half of the cases happen in New Mexico. Still, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and California have all reported cases in the past. People cannot spread the bubonic plague to others. This is only if the plague stays away from the lungs. Antibiotics are effective if administered within 24 hrs of symptoms emerging.

Articles cited



Miami New Times


centers for Disease Control


World Health Organization




Los Angeles Times




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