3rd case of plague reported in NM

Posted at: 09/27/2013 10:52 AM
Updated at: 09/27/2013 1:07 PM
By: Elizabeth Reed, KOB.com

Photo: Source: MGN

A third case of Bubonic plague has been confirmed in New Mexico this year.

According to the New Mexico Department of Health, a 52-year-old man from Santa Fe County contracted the plague. A 15-year-old boy and 11-year-old girl from Torrance County were the first two cases. They have since recovered.

Plague is a bacterial disease of rodents and is generally transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas, but can also be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals, including rodents, wildlife and pets.

"Whenever there is a human case of plague, the department takes several steps to ensure the safety of the immediate family, neighbors, and health care providers," department of health secretary Retta Ward said. "We inform neighbors door-to-door about plague found in the area and educate them on reducing their risk. We determine whether individuals close to the patient may also have been exposed to the plague and recommend preventative treatment when necessary."

Symptoms of the plague include fever, chills, headache and weakness. There can also be a painful swelling of the lymph node in the groin, armpit or neck.

To avoid the plague, the department of health recommends keeping pets from roaming and hunting, cleaning up areas where rodents could live and keeping pet food away from areas where mice can get to it.