BY CAROLINE BOYER
Earlier this week, a resident of Marquette County, Michigan was diagnosed with the Bubonic plague, making this the 14th reported case in the United States this year.
Michigan state officials are reporting that the patient had recently been to a part of Colorado with a recent plague activity when he or she became infected. Officials also say that the patient is now recovering, and there is no need for panic, however the public is still skeptical.
The plague is a disease caused mostly by bites from infected fleas, but can also be transmitted by touching an infected animal, or inhaling droplets from a cough of an infected person or animal.
There are three common forms of plague: Bubonic, Septicemic, and Pneumonic. The most recent patient was diagnosed with the most common, and easiest to treat. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention explains this plague by saying “The key feature of bubonic plague is a swollen, painful lymph node, usually in the groin, armpit or neck. Other symptoms include fever, chills, headache, and extreme exhaustion. A person usually becomes ill with bubonic plague 1 to 6 days after being infected. If not treated early, the bacteria can spread to other parts of the body and cause septicemic or pneumonic plague”.
The most famous outbreak of the plague stretches back to Europe in the Middle Ages when the Black Death killed almost one-third of the population. Although this outbreak is nowhere near the severity of the Black Death, it is still a frightening situation for many Americans. The CDC asks that the population remembers to keep a focus on personal hygiene, and to avoid dead animals.