New Mexico reports man in his 20s is latest victim to die from PLAGUE

A MAN in New Mexico has died of the plague, in what is the first death from the disease in the state since 2015.

The man, from Rio Arriba County, was in his twenties and had been hospitalized after falling ill, health officials said.

Last month, a man in his sixties was diagnosed with the bubonic plague, the third human case within the space of a year.

“This is a reminder that even during a pandemic, other infectious diseases are out that can still put your health at risk,” said Department of Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel.

“All New Mexicans need to be aware of the risks for contracting diseases like plague and take the necessary precautions to avoid them.”

Plague is a bacterial disease and is generally transmitted to humans and pets through the bites of infected fleas.

The plague is usually associated with medieval times, when it was dubbed the Black Death. The disease killed 25 million people.

During the Great Plague of London, in 1665, 70,000 of the city's residents died.

Cases however have been emerging in modern times, with the New Mexico case being the latest.

In recent decades, an average of seven human plague cases have been reported in the US each year, according to CDC figures.

Between 1900 and 2012, 1006 confirmed or probable human plague cases occurred in the country.

Environmental inspectors will investigate the New Mexico man's home to look for ongoing risk to immediate family members, neighbors and others in the surrounding community.

“Plague activity in New Mexico is usually highest during the summer months, so it is especially important now to take precautions to avoid rodents and their fleas which can expose you to plague," Kunkel added.

Symptoms of plague in humans include sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, and weakness. In most cases there is a painful swelling of the lymph node in the groin, armpit or neck areas.

This is the first human plague-related death in New Mexico since 2015. There was a single human plague case in 2019 in a 72-year-old man from Torrance County, and no human plague cases in 2018.

There have been two animal plague cases in New Mexico in 2020, in a dog and a cat, and both in Santa Fe County.

There were two animal plague cases in 2019, a dog from Quay County and a cat from Santa Fe County; and three animal plague cases in 2018, two dogs from Santa Fe County and one dog from Torrance County.

Doctors say it can be treated with antibiotics if diagnosed early enough, My Journal Courier reported.

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