15-year-old NM boy infected with plague

Posted at: 08/13/2013 9:04 AM
Updated at: 08/13/2013 9:15 AM
By: Elizabeth Reed, KOB.com

The first human case of plague in the country this year is in New Mexico.

A 15-year-old Torrance county boy is in the hospital in stable condition, according to the state department of health.

The plague is a bacterial disease found in rodents and is usually transmitted to humans through flea bites or contact with infected animals. Symptoms include fever, chills and swelling of lymph nodes.

The department of health warns people to keep their pets from roaming and hunting. They can bring infected fleas back into homes.

"Plague activity in New Mexico is usually highest during the summer months, so it is especially important now to take precautions to avoid rodents and their fleas which can expose you to plague," said Dr. Paul Ettestad, public health veterinarian for the health department.

In New Mexico, there was one human plague case in 2012, two human cases of plague in 2011, no cases in 2010 and six human cases of plague in 2009--one of them fatal.