The CDC Says There’s an Unusual Number Of Bubonic Plague Cases in the US This Year

The CDC Says There’s an Unusual Number Of Bubonic Plague Cases in the US This Year

Just hearing the word “plague” can strike fear into anyone’s heart, with images of people dying in medieval Europe. And lucky us — the number of cases in the United States is inexplicably higher than usual this year.


An unusually high number of cases of human plague have been recorded by US health authorities since April — 11 in all, with three of them fatal, officials said Tuesday.

“It is unclear why the number of cases in 2015 is higher than usual,” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

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The CDC said that having 11 cases in just the past four months is unusual.

“During 2001–2012, the annual number of human plague cases reported in the United States ranged from one to 17,” the agency said in a statement.

The median number of annual plague cases across the past decade has been three.

Plague is a rare and dangerous disease that is caused by a bacterium, known as Yersinia pestis, that circulates in wild rodents and their fleas.

People can get the plague if they are bitten by an infected flea, or if they come in close contact with an infected person or animal, including cats and dogs, health authorities said.

This year’s cases originated in the western United States, with four cases in Colorado and two each in Arizona, New Mexico and California. Another infection took place in Oregon.

Three people have died so far, and campgrounds in Yosemite National Park have had to be closed and fumigated because animals were found to be carrying the plague there. If you live in one of the states where cases of the plague have been found, then be vigilant and see a doctor immediately if you have a fever, abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting.

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