Idaho child contracts rare illness, state's first case in two decades
An unidentified boy in Idaho has contracted bubonic plague, which is the first case of the rare disease in about 26 years.
According to Time, the child was treated with antibiotics at a medical facility and is now recovering at home in a stable condition.
It is still unclear as to whether the boy contracted the disease in Idaho or during his recent trip to Oregon.
The Central District Health Department announced that ground squirrels near the child’s home in Elmore County, Idaho, had tested positive for carrying the disease in 2015 and 2016. But no cases were reported in the area since.
“Plague is spread to humans through a bite from an infected flea,” explained Sarah Correll, an epidemiologist at the Central District Health Department.
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She added: “People can decrease their risk by treating their pets for fleas and avoiding contact with wildlife. Wear insect repellent, long pants, and socks when visiting plague-affected areas.”
Bubonic plague is also infamously known as the ‘black death,’ which was a lethal epidemic in the Middle Ages that killed millions of people.
Modern medicine has, however, made it possible to treat this disease a lot more easily. However, left untreated, the plague can lead to visibly swollen lymph nodes, headaches, fever, and vomiting.
In some areas, the disease is still having a devastating effect. Last year, in Madagascar, the plague hit hard, killing over 200 people.
Another report from Time informed that more than 2,000 people were infected during the same outbreak.
The source further reported that the bubonic plague is a bacterial infection that is typically spread through flea bites with symptoms ranging from fevers to tender lymph nodes.
It typically takes two to six days from the first date of contact with the disease for the symptoms to take effect.