New Mexico reports case of human bubonic plague | KOB 4
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New Mexico reports case of human bubonic plague

New Mexico reports case of human bubonic plague

KOB Web Staff
Updated: July 27, 2020 11:30 AM
Created: July 27, 2020 11:03 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico Department of Health is reporting the state's first human plague case of 2020. Officials said a Santa Fe County man in his 60s has been diagnosed with bubonic plague. 

 “This is a reminder that even during a pandemic, other infectious diseases are out that that can still put your health at risk,” NMDOH Secretary Kathy Kunkel said. “All New Mexicans need to be aware of the risks for contracting diseases like plague and take the necessary precautions to avoid them.”

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According to the health department, the man is recovering at a local hospital while officials investigate any ongoing risks to immediate family members, neighbors, and others in the surrounding community. 

To prevent plague, the NMDOH issued the following recommendations: 

  • Avoid sick or dead rodents and rabbits, and their nests and burrows.
  • Prevent pets from roaming and hunting.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about using an appropriate flea control product on your pets as not all products are safe for cats, dogs, or your children.
  • Clean up areas near the home where rodents could live, such as woodpiles, brush piles, junk and abandoned vehicles.''
  • Have sick pets examined promptly by a veterinarian.
  • See your doctor about any unexplained illness involving a sudden and severe fever.
  • Put hay, wood, and compost piles as far as possible from your home.
  • Don’t leave your pet’s food and water where rodents and wildlife can get to it.

Symptoms include the sudden onset of fever, chills, headache and weakness. Health officials said in most cases there is a painful swelling of the lymph node in the groin, armpit or neck area. 

Plague symptoms in dogs and cats are fever, lethargy and loss of appetite. A dog in Santa Fe County was also diagnosed with the plague this year. 

In New Mexico, there was one human plague case in 2019 and none in 2018. 

With prompt diagnosis and antibiotic treatment, the fatality rate in people and pets can be greatly reduced.

Physicians who suspect plague should promptly report to NMDOH by calling (505) 827-0006.


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