First human case of plague since 1992 found in Elmore County

Henrietta Brewer
June 16, 2018

Also, the health officials tackle any plague case promptly.

The child is recovering after receiving antibiotics.

Occasionally some humans do get infected with Yersinia pestis, usually through a flea or animal bite, according to Health.com.

An Idaho child was infected with the plague this week, the first human diagnosis in the state since 1992, health officials confirmed. Since 1990, eight human cases have been confirmed in OR and two in Idaho.

Credit PA
Credit PA

It is most notable for causing the Black Death in Europe in the 1300s, killing between 30 and 60 percent of the entire population of the continent at the time.

Figures from the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that between the years 1970 and 2012, the average number of plague cases reported in the country per year is just seven.

According to the most recent data, there were no deaths from plague in 2016, but four in 2015.

The child is the fifth human to have contracted plague in Idaho since the year 1940.


One of the more significant plague reservoirs is the western United States, which is why many parks in this region post signs warning visitors to keep their distance from wild rodents and to wear protective clothing and/or insect repellent. People can experience fever, chills, headaches, and swelling of lymph nodes under the armpit. Port cities suffered the consequences and plague epidemics flourished, until a slow halt in the 1920s.

The CDC lists out further steps you can take if you're anxious about exposure, like wearing gloves when dealing with animals you think may be infected with the plague and reducing habitats suitable for rodents around your home and work. "People can decrease their risk by treating their pets for fleas and avoiding contact with wildlife". Pneumonic plague includes shortness of breath, chest pain, cough and sometimes bloody mucous.

See your doctor if you have any unexplained illness involving a sudden and severe fever after being in a plague-endemic area.

Don't feed rodents in campgrounds, picnic areas, or near your home.


Put hay, wood and compost piles as far as possible from your home.

In the US, people can contract the plague when disposing of squirrels or mice that died from the infection or traveled to an area where infected animals live.

Talk to your veterinarian about using an appropriate flea control product on pets as not all products are safe for cats, dogs or children.

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


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