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Colorado Reports Human Case Of Plague

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Health officials in Colorado reported a human case of plague in Pueblo County.

The Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment are investigating the matter after initial test results came back positive.

FOX31 Denver reports:

According to PDPHE, the plague bacterium, Yersinia pestis, is transmitted by fleas and cycles naturally among wild rodents. Plague can infect humans and their pets, and can be contracted from the bites of infected fleas, by touching or skinning infected animals, or by inhaling droplets from the cough of an infected person or animal.

Typical symptoms of plague include sudden fever and chills, severe headache, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting and a feeling of illness. A common symptom of plague is also swollen lymph nodes with pain.

“We advise all individuals to protect themselves and their pets from plague,” Alicia Solis, program manager of the Office of Communicable Disease and Emergency Preparedness at PDPHE, said in a press release, according to Fox News.

Per Fox News:

The bubonic plague is caused by Yersinia pestis, a bacterium that was likely first introduced in North America around 1900 from rats on ships coming from South Asia, according to Timothy Brewer, M.D., professor of medicine and epidemiology at UCLA.

“Since its introduction 120 years ago, it has become endemic in ground squirrels and rodents in the rural Southwestern U.S.,” he told Fox News Digital.

Although the disease can affect people of all ages, half the cases involve patients between the ages of 12 and 45, as stated on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Globally, between 1,000 and 2,000 cases of plague are reported to the World Health Organization each year — although only an average of seven annual cases are in the U.S.

If left untreated, the plague has a fatality rate of 30% to 60%.

With antibiotics, that drops to below 5%.

Unsurprisingly, scientists previously started conducting trials for a plague vaccine.

“The first phase of the trial will see at least 40 healthy 18 to 55-year-olds receiving the jab, developed by the UK scientists behind the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine,” Mirror reported in 2021.

From Mirror:

It uses the same technology as the coronavirus jab, but targets a centuries-old bacterial threat, the BBC reported.

The black plague is, for most, associated with the Black Death that swept through Europe in the 1300s and killed as much as half the population.

However, there are still cases in some rural areas of Africa, Asia and America, with an outbreak in 2017 having killed 171 people in Madagascar.

Antibiotics can now be used to treat plague, with an effective vaccine now offering a new way to protect lives.

The trial aims to test how well the body recognises and learns to fight the plague after vaccination.

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