Two women hospitalised after New Mexico reports latest cases of plague

Officials report 2 more plague cases in Santa Fe County

Two Santa Fe County women are the latest New Mexico residents to contract the plague, the state Health Department said Monday.

The Health Department says the two recent cases involve a 52-year-old woman and a 62-year-old woman.

There have been three human plague cases reported in Santa Fe County this year, so far, and all patients were hospitalized. With the addition of these cases, there have been three human plague cases from Santa Fe County in 2017. State health officials are now investigating the homes of the patients to ensure no one else in the nearby area have been placed at risk of contracting the potentially deadly infection.

The plague is a disease carried by rodents and transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected flea.

Symptoms of plague in humans include sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, and weakness.




In 2015, there were four cases of plague diagnosed in New Mexico and one fatality, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Plague is more common in the summer because rodents are out of their burrows and fleas are more active".

The department says people should make sure people are using "appropriate" flea medication for their pets and to generally limit how close rodents get to the home and pets.

The U.S. cases occur mostly in the Southwest, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado. In 2015, there was an unusually high number of plague cases in the United States - 16 in total, according to the CDC.

The plague, which is caused by a type of bacteria called Yersinia pestis, is perhaps best known for killing millions of people in Europe in the 1300s, in a pandemic called the Black Death. There can also be painful swelling of the lymph node in the groin, armpit or neck. Although it can be fatal, timely treatment and antibiotics greatly lower the risk of death.

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