Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
Life&Culture | By Kristin Armstrong

Two women hospitalised after New Mexico reports latest cases of plague

Two women hospitalised after New Mexico reports latest cases of plague

The New Mexico Department of Health confirmed two new cases of plague, a bacterial disease that is found in rodents and transmitted to humans through bites from infected fleas and direct contact with infected animals.

Three people in New Mexico have been infected with plague this month, which is close to the number of plague cases that the state saw in all of 2016, according to health officials.

NMDOH said the plague is present in fleas on some wild rodents in Santa Fe County and several other counties in the state. There have been no deaths.

Health workers are conducted environmental investigations around the homes of the patients to look for ongoing risk and to ensure the safety of the families and neighbors.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are seven cases of plague on average each year.

"Plague is more common in the summer because rodents are out of their burrows and fleas are more active". Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, weakness and painful swollen lymph nodes.

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Talk to your veterinarian about using an appropriate flea control product on your pets as not all products are safe for cats, dogs, or your children.

See your doctor about any unexplained illness involving a sudden and high fever.

The U.S. cases occur mostly in the Southwest, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado.

However, the problem is more serious in Africa, where most of the 3,248 human cases of the plague recorded between 2010 and 2015 were found. Four cases were also reported in 2015 with one fatality.

Bubonic is the most known well known form of plague, as it is associated with an epidemic known as the Black Plague, in which millions of people died in Europe in the 1300s. Proper treatment and antibiotics greatly reduce the risk of death. "There may be a swelling in the lymph node under the jaw".

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