Bubonic plague strikes once more, raising the toll to 16 cases. A 16-year old from Oregon came to the emergency room on October 24th after being diagnosed with the bubonic plague.
According to health authorities the girl has been infected by a flea bite during a trip she was taking. Yersinia pestis, the bacteria causing the bubonic plague has been largely contained. However, in the United States and elsewhere, rodents are active carriers of the dreaded bacteria. Feeding on their blood, pests such as fleas also carry the strain. A large majority of the cases reported in the U.S. in the past decade are linked to flea bites, particularly in rural areas.
The flea-borne disease is rare, but it can be lethal if left unchecked. Passed from infected rodents to the fleas, Yersinia pestis may easily be transmitted to humans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, other modes of infection include contact with infected tissue or inhaling droplets from the contaminated animals.
Once contact was made, it make take up to six days for Yersinia pestis to incubate. However, the symptoms are easily identifiable and any of them should prompt an immediate visits to the hospital. Fever, vomiting, a constant nausea and severe abdominal pain is one cluster of symptoms.
However, there are three types of infection that Yersinia pestis may cause, with bubonic plague being just one. Bubonic plague manifests at the level of lymph nodes. This is the most common form of the plague, accounting for up to 85 percent of the cases.
Septicemic plague is the second type of infection, accounting for approximately 10 percent of the reported cases. Yersinia pestis attacks the bloodstream, without manifesting in one visible manner.
Primary pneumonic plague is the third type of infection. More rare, it account for an estimated 3 percent of the cases. This is typically the result of contamination via inhaling infected droplets. Sometimes acting as a complementary to the two other types of the plague, it directly affects the lungs.
Thanks to antibiotics and relentless research in the medical field, the mortality rate due to the plague decreased to only 16 percent. While rare, the plague continues to make victims across the U.S.
With the latest Oregon case, bubonic plague strikes once more, raising the toll to 16 cases. According to the CDC report titled Mortality Weekly Report, published in August this year, it remains unclear why the number of Yersinia pestis contamination cases have increased during this year.
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