Idaho boy diagnosed with the PLAGUE, health officials reveal

Grant Boone
June 17, 2018

Central District Health Department epidemiologists say it is not known whether the child was exposed to plague in Idaho or during a recent trip to Oregon. The department also said it is believed the child contracted the disease during a recent trip to OR but this hasn't been confirmed yet.

This has led the health officials from the Central District Health Department in Idaho to warn people to be on a lookout for this deadly disease.

"The case serves as a reminder to recreationists in southern Idaho that plague is unsafe to people and pets, but with proper awareness, precautions, and prompt treatment when needed, plague should not discourage you from enjoying the Idaho outdoors". The bubonic plague wiped out 50 million people in the world during the 14th Century, including somewhere between 25 and 60% of the entire population of Europe (record keeping was spotty back then), and it's a particularly nasty disease. Plague can cause serious illness and death if not quickly treated.

Plague is spread by fleas that carry the Yersinia pestis bacteria, which can cause the three forms of plague: bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonic. Person-to-person transmission is extremely rare, and wasn't a factor in this case, officials said. "Wear insect repellent, long trousers and socks when visiting plague affected areas".

Keep the backyard clean and place woodpiles, hay or compost piles away from rodents.

- Wear gloves if you are handling or skinning potentially infected animals to prevent contact between your skin and the plague bacteria.

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Keep pets from roaming and hunting ground squirrels or other rodents.

Don't feed rodents in campgrounds, picnic areas, or near your home. It can now be treated relatively easily thanks to modern medicine.Left untreated, bubonic plague's symptoms can include visibly swollen lymph nodes, headaches, fever and vomiting. In most cases, there's also a painful swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin, armpit and neck.

Use flea products on pets - check with a veterinarian for an appropriate product. Prior to this case, the last two cases reported in Idaho occurred in 1991 and 1992, with both patients fully recovering.

Don't leave pet food and water where rodents or other wild animals can access them.

The recently diagnosed plague case in Elmore County serves as a reminder that this disease can still be risky to both people and their pets and that anyone who enjoys spending time outdoors should take precautionary measures to shield themselves from infection.

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