Child in Idaho Has Plague

Child in Idaho Has Plague

An Elmore County child is the first with a confirmed human case of plague in the state since 1992.

An unidentified child in Idaho is recovering after receiving treatment for the plague.

It is not known whether the child was exposed to plague in Idaho or during a recent trip to Oregon.

Plague has been found historically in wildlife in both states.

The child became ill late last month and, earlier this week, health authorities received laboratory confirmation that he had bubonic plague, Myron said.

Plague has been found in wildlife in many western states.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the plague is most commonly contracted from bites from fleas that are infected with the bacteria, though people can also contract the disease through contact with infected tissues or fluids while handling an animal that is sick with the illness.

"The case serves as a reminder to recreationists in southern Idaho that plague is risky to people and pets, but with proper awareness, precautions, and prompt treatment when needed, plague should not discourage you from enjoying the Idaho outdoors".

In a press release, the Health Department said that "Plague has historically been found in wildlife in both states", and that "since 1990, eight human cases were confirmed in OR and two were confirmed in Idaho". "Wear insect repellant, long trousers and socks when visiting plague-affected areas". This strain of bacteria still occurs naturally in some rodent populations, spread by fleas in rats and squirrels, but is exceedingly rare in humans. Earlier this week, laboratory test results came back that confirmed it was a case of bubonic plague - the most common of the three forms of the disease.

To lower your risk of contracting the disease, the CDC urges people to respond quickly to any rat or mouse infestations in your home, wear gloves when dealing with animals that could carry it, and keep fleas off your pets.

Bubonic plague accounts for about 80 percent of plague cases in humans, and symptoms include fever, headache, chills, weakness or swollen lymph nodes.

- Reduce rodent habitat around your home, workplace and recreational areas.

Talk to your veterinarian about flea control for your pets before venturing out to ground squirrel areas, and follow the directions on the label.