Idaho boy recovering from rare case of plague

Idaho boy recovering from rare case of plague

A boy in the USA state of Idaho is recovering after contracting plague - the first human case in the state in more than two decades, health officials say.

A child in Idaho is recovering after being treated for the bubonic plague this week.

It is not known how the child contracted the disease, though it is believed that he or she contracted it either in his/her home city in Elmore County or while on a recent trip to Oregon.

Plague has been found historically in wildlife in both states.

The child became ill last month, says Christine Myron, a spokeswoman for the Central District Health Department, in the first case since 1992.

If you've heard of the plague, chances are it was way back in history class in school, when you were no doubt scared shitless by tales of the bubonic plague, aka the Black Death - but at least you could breathe easily in the knowledge that it was more or less a thing of the past.

The disease is most typically transmitted to humans from fleas who have bitten infected rodents. It's just the fifth case of plague in Idaho since 1940. No cases have been reported this year.

The health department reminds southern Idaho recreationists that plague is risky to people and pets and for people to be aware of what to look for when in the Idaho outdoors. If the infection is not treated right away, the inflamed lymph nodes can turn into open sores filled with pus, according to the World Health Organization.

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It has resulted in the deaths of 75 to 200 million people in Europe and Asia centuries ago.

People can protect themselves when visiting plague-infested wildlife areas by wearing insect repellent, long trousers and socks.

In wild rodent populations that harbor the bacteria, plague can thrive for a long time before humans come into contact with it.

The bacterial infection is rarely seen in humans, and is typically spread by animals or insects.

Symptoms can include fever, chills, headaches and weakness.

Clean up areas near your home where rodents can live, such as woodpiles and lots with tall grasses and weeds. It also can be transmitted to people by direct contact with infected animals, including rodents, rabbits and pets.

Talk to your veterinarian about flea control for your pets before venturing out to ground squirrel areas, and follow the directions on the label.

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