First human case of plague since 1992 found in Elmore County

First human case of plague since 1992 found in Elmore County

Myron said human plague cases in the state are rare, with the most recent cases reported in 1991 and 1992.

Today, health officials in Elmore County, just east of the capital Boise, said the boy was diagnosed late last month.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare issued a news release Tuesday afternoon saying the child is recovering from the bacterial disease.

A boy in the U.S. state of Idaho is recovering after contracting plague - the first human case in the state in more than two decades, health officials say.

As for humans, the bacteria is most commonly transmitted through flea bites, especially since pets can bring the infected fleas inside.

It is still unclear whether the child in Elmore County was exposed to the disease in Idaho or during a recent trip to or, according to the Central District Health Department.

A state health official told the Idaho Statesman newspaper that the public is advised to "wear insect repellant, long trousers and socks when visiting plague affected areas".

The health department reminds southern Idaho recreationists that plague is risky to people and pets and for people to be aware of what to look for when in the Idaho outdoors.

That said, researchers a year ago found traces of Yersinia pestis, the bacterium which causes the plague, among squirrels in Elmore County.

BUBONIC: High fever, headache, chills, and weakness. The disease was later spread from urban rats to rural rodent populations, and a small number of cases have since emerged in rural areas, according to the CDC. No one should feed rodents in parks and picnic or campground areas, and people should never handle sick or dead rodents.

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

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

Don't leave pet food and water where rodents or other wild animals can access them. In most cases, there is also a painful swelling of the lymph node in the groin, armpit, or neck. In some cases, rapidly developing signs of pneumonia (shortness of breath, chest pain, cough) can occur.

Plague signs in cats and dogs include fever, lethargy and loss of appetite.

Plague can be a very severe disease in people, with a fatality rate of up to 60 percent.

CDHD says prompt diagnosis and appropriate antibiotic treatment can greatly reduce the risk of death in people and pets. The Idaho Central District Health's statement said that since 1990, there have been two cases in Idaho and eight in Oregon.

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