Man in New Mexico succumbs to plague, say public health officials

New Mexico Man Dies from Plague, State’s First Human Fatality Since 2020

In a tragic turn of events, a man from Lincoln County, New Mexico has passed away from plague, marking the state’s first human fatality due to the disease since 2020. The man was hospitalized before his death, shedding light on the severity of the situation.

Plague, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, is often transmitted to humans through flea bites or contact with infected animals. However, it is treatable with antibiotics if caught early. Symptoms of plague can vary, including bubonic plague, septicemic plague, and pneumonic plague, making a diagnosis from a trained physician crucial for receiving proper treatment.

The New Mexico Department of Health is currently conducting an environmental assessment in the community to determine the source of the infection. Plague is known to naturally occur in the western U.S., and efforts to control its spread are ongoing.

Before the advent of antibiotics, two-thirds of people who contracted plague died from the disease. However, with timely treatment, the mortality rate has now been reduced to about 10%. To minimize the risk of contracting plague, the NMDOH recommends cleaning up areas where rodents might live and keeping pets indoors.

This tragic news comes just a month after an Oregon resident contracted plague, likely from their own cat. The incidents serve as a stark reminder of the importance of taking precautions to prevent the spread of this deadly disease. Stay informed, stay safe, and stay vigilant against plague.

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